At the Oct. 26 situational update, Mayor Muriel Bowser addressed Halloween, the upcoming holiday season and early voting in DC.
Bowser addressed the Halloween weekend in addition to the upcoming holiday season and emphasized the importance of staying connected while socially distant to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
Bowser commended residents and children for their efforts which she said are “making a difference and saving lives,” but also reminded people to be vigilant as more than 224,000 Americans including 624 Washingtonians have died.
“We want to ensure that what should be a fun holiday gathering does not turn into a tragedy for your family,” Bowser said.
Bowser broke down activities into categories of high risk, medium risk and low risk.
High Risk activities include traditional door to door trick or treating, trunk or treating, bobbing for apples and going to indoor haunted houses.
Medium risk activities include visiting orchards or pumpkin patches with a mask, small outdoor gatherings with masks and one-way trick or treating where children pick up an individually-packaged treat bag.
Low risk activities include decorating your house and carving pumpkins to put outside, driving around to view Halloween decorations from your car, holding a candy hunt with members of your household and hosting a virtual gathering with family and friends.
In preparation for the holiday season following Halloween, Bowser warned against participating in high risk activities such as attending crowded sporting events or parades, in-person shopping with large crowds, traveling outside the DC region to states with higher case numbers and attending or hosting gatherings with individuals who are not members of the household.
In-person early voting in the District will begin tomorrow, Tuesday Oct. 27 and will operate from 8:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m everyday through Election Day. On election day, additional voting centers across the District will open to total 96 polling places across DC. Same day voter registration will also be available at all early voting locations and will be available on election day.
The Mayor encouraged residents to visit the Board of Elections website to find their closest polling location noting that Washingtonians can vote at any location. She also encouraged Washingtonians to “not wait to vote” and to use “the whole week” to avoid long lines at the polling places.
DC Health Director LaQuandra Nesbitt emphasized the importance of voting, but also encouraged residents to stay home if they are feeling sick and drop off the absentee ballot that was mailed to every resident.
“Voting is very important [and] we want people to be as engaged in that process as possible,” Nesbitt said. “For people who choose to exercise that right in-person, we want to make sure that they do not go to a voting center if they are sick, and that we protect all of the people doing their civic duty by being poll workers. We also want people to know that they should be wearing a mask when they go.”
Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.