Can a Halloween mask help prevent the spread of COVID-19? An infectious disease expert at UVA Health weighs in

How effective are Halloween masks at preventing the spread of COIVD-19?
Updated: Oct. 20, 2020 at 6:01 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -Halloween is right around the corner and whether you’re opting for silly or scary, masks are a staple for many Halloween costumes. However, can they help prevent the spread of COVID-19?

UVA Health Infectious Disease Specialist, Dr. Bill Petri, says it depends on the type.

“A Halloween mask that is covering the nose and the mask with a cloth is probably just as effective. The ones I remember as a kid, though, always had breathing holes and those probably wouldn’t work as well," Petri said.

Halloween also means candy, but you may not want your kids to dig in right away this year.

“Even if the neighbors have done the hand washing, placed it in the plastic bags. If you can, just leave the candy for a couple days, if there’s any virus on it, the virus dies after 24-48 hours,” Petri said.

The owner of the Party Starts Here in Charlottesville says horror masks are usually the biggest sellers, but in 2016 political masks were popular too. Less so this election year.

“We’ve sold, I’d say definitely more Trump masks than we’ve sold Biden, but not as many as we have in the past for sure," Ray Feola, a co-owner of Party Starts Here, said.

The biggest scare this year is fear over the spread of COVID-19. Feola says he has seen a decline in foot traffic because of it.

“It’s definitely been different this year for Halloween for sure. There’s been a little bit less of a crowd coming in, but we’ve seen really good support from the community," he said.

Dr. Petri also recommends planning outside Halloween parties and having plenty of hand sanitizer available.

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