Today’s “Grinch Fest in Whoville” event has been called off after new recommendations by the state’s health officer, Main Street Columbus Executive Director Barbara Bigelow announced Thursday afternoon.
The event was scheduled for 5-8 p.m. tonight in the old Fashion Barn building at Fifth Street and Main, an alteration of Main Street Columbus’ annual Wassail Fest, where the public visited participating downtown merchants to sample wassail and register for prizes after normal business hours. The new format was implemented to limit potential exposure to coronavirus by holding the main event at a central location where masks and social distancing were mandatory.
On Wednesday, however, new recommendations from Dr. Thomas Dobbs, the state’s health officer, led to the decision to cancel the event. The recommendation came the same day the state health department reported 2,457 new COVID-19 cases, the highest single-day number of new cases reported since the start of the pandemic in Mississippi in March.
“I think we’re heading into the darkest period of the coronavirus for Mississippi,” Dobbs said in announcing the new guidelines.
“Due to the most recent Executive Order from Governor Tate Reeves and Wednesday’s safety recommendations from Dr. Dobbs, we feel it would not be in the best interest of the community to host an event in our downtown at this time,” Bigelow said in a prepared statement Thursday. “Please know this decision was not easy and every possible option was considered. However, the safety of our community is, and shall remain, our highest priority.”
Tonight’s planned showing of the movie “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” at the Princess Theater has also been canceled, but Bigelow said some of the downtown merchants may choose to stay open past normal business hours today.
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