Northwest Missourian Opinion

In the shadow of a global pandemic and perhaps the most contentious election any of us have and probably ever will see, one piece of normalcy returned to Maryville to round out the spooky season. The annual Downtown Trick-or-Treat marked its silver anniversary in an unconventional manner Oct. 29. Businesses lined the sidewalks downtown, eager to give the city’s young ones a sugar rush and their parents a headache.

Don’t get me wrong — I love the fact that children are able to dress up as whatever they wish, so long as it’s an appropriate choice, and that they can load up on candy and other free things like, say, pencils and coloring pages to enjoy to their heart’s content. Especially after all that’s been taken away from the kids here lately, I want them to have a little fun. But not like this.

To begin with, this blatant example of abject ignorance: As you know by now, the Maryville City Council extended the face covering ordinance through Nov. 24. Since they reluctantly approved to close several blocks of the city’s streets to hold the event, one would think the mask rule would be enforced. It wasn’t. Seeing pictures from the event full of kids without masks and lacking distancing of any kind made my heart sink in despair.

Then again, was I surprised? No.

Another issue is that this wasn’t a city-run event. Maryville’s government simply sponsored the trick-or-treating fun, albeit with hesitance. Maryville City Councilman Tye Parsons was arguably the most vocal about it, referring to the event as a so-called “super-spreader”. 

Sure, the city could have left the downtown area open to traffic, but that poses a risk too costly to take. Heaven forbid one of the kiddos gets slammed into by a careless motorist — the city could be found liable for such an accident and have the pants sued off of them. Closure or not, I have no doubt the organizer, or at the very least, folks from participating businesses, were going to hold their prized fall bash regardless of what any figure of authority said or did to step on its toes.

Kids attending an event where they’re touching a crap ton of contaminated candy wrappers and what not are likely to spread the coronavirus. Especially young children — they’re going to touch everything in sight and then pick their God-forsaken nose. Then they’ll wipe their debris somewhere. 

Again, I’m all for kids having a good time, but unless you suit the kiddos up with gloves and a mask, how on God’s green earth are they not going to spread or catch something, even if it’s as minute as a common cold? We live in an overactive world, people.

This is especially true following the spike we saw here in Nodaway County on Oct. 27, with 42 cases being confirmed in one day. The moment someone coughs in the aisles of Walmart, I can count at least five people who immediately throw awkward glares and a look of “Oh, my God, that’s COVID” their way. 

In the end, our fight against this virus, even on a local level, is only as strong as the will of the people to take proper precautions. Please, especially as the holidays approach, be safe and smart.

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