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THURSDAY, 10-22-2020   EDINBURG – After consulting with local health experts and local mayors, Hidalgo County Judge Richard F. Cortez on Wednesday signed amended safety orders that prohibits door-to-door Halloween activities, but provides for city-sanctioned drive-by celebrations such as trunk or treat. The amended orders by Judge Cortez also offer guidance, based on guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, for upcoming holidays such as Dia de los Muertos, Thanksgiving and Christmas.   The amended order shall go into effect at one minute past midnight tonight, October 21, and shall remain in effect unless modified or rescinded. “Public safety, particularly the safety of our children, was foremost in my mind as I signed these orders after consulting with local experts and elected officials,” Judge Cortez said. “I recognize that these are extraordinary safety measures, but I also am mindful that COVID-19 remains an active and deadly threat to our community.  Many computer models are already predicting a rise in cases toward the end of the year. This order seeks to mitigate that rise.” Judge Cortez thanked area mayors for their support of the amended orders and encouraged residents of Hidalgo County to be on the look-out for Halloween events sanctioned by their cities. The orders also offer suggestions for other alternatives to door-to-door Halloween celebrations, including: Carving or decorating pumpkins with members of your household Carving or decorating pumpkins outside, at a safe distance, with neighbors or friends Decorating your house, apartment, or living space Doing a Halloween scavenger hunt where children are given lists of Halloween-themed things to look for while they walk outdoors Having a virtual Halloween costume contest Having a Halloween movie night with people you live with                           Having a scavenger hunt-style trick-or-treat search with your household members in or around your home rather than going house to house Beyond Halloween, the amended orders provide a set of low- to moderate-risk activities for other upcoming holidays that are generally some of the year’s most popular events in the Rio Grande Valley for extended family to gather. For Dia de los Muertos, this includes: · Preparing traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially those at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and delivering them in a way that doesn't involve contact with others · Playing music in your home that your deceased loved ones enjoyed · Making and decorating masks or making an altar for the deceased · Setting out pillows and ...

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