At its Sept. 28 meeting, the Metropolis City Council approved observing Halloween from 5-8 p.m. Oct. 31.
“I think this isn’t the best thing in the world,” Mayor Billy McDaniel said at the time. “I emphasize people just use common sense — if you have health issues that comprise you, do not turn your lights on, don’t let kids in your candy dish.”
So two weeks later, during Tuesday’s council meeting, which was held a day later due to the Columbus Day holiday, McDaniel passed out 10 simple guidelines for trick-or-treating.
“Nobody likes ‘no.’ We’re making suggestions asking people to use good common sense. We’ve talked several times at this council about the children and what they’ve been through. I don’t think most of us as grown-ups understand the smaller things in a child’s life are things they look forward to. But I think we ought to be conscious of the things that are going on around us.”
He noted that Massac County’s COVID case count has risen by 100 in some 40 days — there were 30 on Aug. 28 and 130 on Tuesday. Region 5 remains at an orange warning level with 79 new cases reported over weekend, 51 of them in Union County and one in Massac.
“We are asking people trick-or-treat in their own vicinities and not overwhelm certain areas of the community,” he said. “We want it to be as safe as it can be.”
McDaniel said the list was developed by looking at what several surrounding areas are doing and tips from various state sources. Those guidelines are:
1) If you may have COVID-19 or may have been exposed, you should not participate in in-person Halloween festivities and should not give out candy to trick-or-treaters.
2) Those with compromised immune systems should not participate in in-person Halloween activities nor pass out candy. Leaving your porch light out gives notice you are not participating. Children should not go to homes that do not have the porch light on.
3) If you choose to give out candy, don’t let trick-or-treaters get their own. Rather, residents should place the treats in the children’s bags.
4) When going door-to-door, trick-or-treaters should remember to social distance and leave 6 feet between yourself and the next trick-or-treater. Parents should help control having too many trick-or-treaters on a porch or at a door.
5) Consider allowing children to only trick-or-treat to family members’ and close friends’ homes.
6) If trick-or-treating, parents should keep hand sanitizer with them and use it frequently between themselves and children.
7) Don’t overrun subdivisions with a mass of children being dropped off.
8) When trick-or-treating in a group, consider only household members of the group.
9) A costume mask is not a substitute for a cloth facial mask.
10) Please wear a facial mask and social distance when possible.
In other business, the council:
• Approved the first payment of $18,000 to OATI (Open Access Technology International) toward the purchase of hardware, software and training for an Advanced Metering Information System which will be used by the electric department to provide the backbone for a smart metering system that will be integrated into the city over the next decade.
• Approved a contract with the Southern Pride Senior Program to continue Happy Hearts from Oct. 1, 2020, through Sept. 30, 2021.
• And, approved the purchase of 1809 Baynes St. from the county tax agent in the amount of $750 plus recording fees.
Under miscellaneous reports:
• City attorney Rick Abell told the council the purchaser of 515 E. Seventh St. at the Sept. 28 meeting was misidentified. Guy Brown purchased the property to tear down its house; however, Brown “has been buying up a lot of the junk in his neighborhood to clean up his neighborhood. His intention is to keep a clean neighborhood. In that regard, we have a good partner,” Abell said.
• McDaniel reminded the council of the upcoming Fall Clean Up Week, which will be Oct. 19-23, provided by Bulldog Systems, LLC. He noted the city is working with Bulldog to plan a tire pickup hopefully by year’s end and an electric pickup in the new year.
• McDaniel also voiced a reminder of the city’s yard waste pickup schedule, which correlates between the ward and the week of the month: Wards 1 and 3 are picked up the first and third weeks of the month; Wards 2 and 4 are picked up the second and fourth weeks of the month. When a month has five weeks, the trucks go around the city, picking up what’s missed.
• McDaniel informed the council that sidewalk work will be undertaken on the 300 block of Ferry Street to provide handicap access to new businesses on the block and fix the sidewalk. The project will be funded by TIF money. Tax increment financing, TIF, is a public financing method that is used as a subsidy for redevelopment, infrastructure and other community-improvement projects.
The next council meeting will be at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 26.