COVID-19 has claimed another public event – the annual Festival of Lights Christmas Parade held the first Saturday in December in downtown Douglas.
At Monday night’s regular city commission meeting, commissioners agreed to cancel the parade this year due to COVID-19 concerns. The city has turned the parade over to the Douglas-Coffee County Chamber of Commerce; however, the city is still an integral part of parade planning. According to city manager Charlie Davis, the Chamber expressed some reservations to him regarding the parade. He added that Coffee Regional Medical Center had also asked the city to consider not holding the parade. “The hospital has its COVID unit under control. They don’t want to see any event that might turn into a super-spreader situation,” he said.
All the commissioners, along with Mayor Tony Paulk, thought it would be best to hold off on the parade in 2020. “Besides, if we did have a parade, nobody would be able to enjoy it if we went by the CDC guidelines. And they only way to make sure that we obeyed the guidelines would be with police enforcement. Nobody wants that,” said Davis. He added that there were plans for a city vehicle to drive Santa Claus throughout city neighborhoods as Christmas approached. Other events, such as the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Shop with a Cop, and other downtown events were still going to be held.
In other news, commissioners voted to waive the rental fees for Central Square and the C.E. Weir Center for the following organizations/events during the remainder of 2020 and into 2021: Beth’el Family Worship Center, Kayla Day, the Childhood Cancer Awareness Group of Coffee County, the Board of Education, Department of Labor, Southwire, MLK Program, Douglas Singles Club, Community Toy Drive (sponsored by the police and fire departments), Boys and Girls Club, CHAMP, Bethany Hospice, City/County/School Board meeting, and American Legion Post 515.
The commission also approved the purchase of an insta-valve machine from Hydra-Stop Solutions for Control. ESG Operations will use this piece of equipment to service water lines without interrupting service. The price tag for this budgeted item is $71,346.