As many of you are aware, the Governor recently issued new COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions that limit public gatherings. These restrictions directly impact many of the Town’s planned holiday events. Even if such restrictions were not in place, however, there are a number of our traditional holiday events that are of a type that we simply do not believe could be held in a manner consistent with the public health and welfare in the current environment. Among the latter are long-standing, treasured annual traditions like the Town holiday party, the Town blessing, and the Guild Holiday Open House. Although such events have out of necessity thus been cancelled, we have heard from residents how important some of our smaller, outdoor activities have become to your overall sense of community and general well being. Accordingly, we are working diligently to move forward with those we feel can be done in a manner consistent with state guidance and public health. These include activities like our visit from Santa and our fireside family night. For such events we hope to organize multiple seatings, while continuing to enforce social distancing and mask-wearing protocols.
We know the continuing pressures of the pandemic are particularly frustrating as we enter the winter holiday season. But with recent announcements about vaccine progress there is finally light at the end of the tunnel to which we can look forward. In the meantime, we ask as we have in the past during winter months when we face snowfall, power outages, and the like, that everyone please look out for your friends and neighbors who might be in distress, and make your best effort to comply with recommended health and safety measures. And as we move toward the close of the year and the start of a new one the Town will continue to do our best to find new ways for safe and enjoyable outdoor community engagement.
Thank you to everyone for your cooperation and compassion as we continue to navigate the challenges of the pandemic together.
Earnie Porta, JD, PhD
Mayor, Town of Occoquan