More events postponed as COVID-19 cases rise

Steve Lyon

An increase in coronavirus cases over the past week has prompted another round of event cancellations in Weiser.
 As of Monday night, Southwest District Health reported 80 confirmed coronavirus cases in Washington County with an additional nine probable for a total of 89 cases.
 The number of cases in neighboring Adams and Payette counties also went up over the past week.
 Southwest District Health also reported that the most recent coronavirus cases in Weiser were spread by community transmission and could not be connected to any of the existing cases.
 “The risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 is increasing in Washington County. Please do your part to help slow the spread of the virus,” said Nikki Zogg, Southwest District Health director in a news release.
 In light of the increase in cases, along with the report of community spread, Weiser Mayor Randy Hibberd said he discussed some of the planned events with public health officials.  
 He said SWDH officials expressed concerns about the potential for large public gatherings in Weiser at a time when coronavirus cases are going up.
 Hibberd said he approached event organizers, who took action on Monday that included cancelling or postponing a number of events this week.
 The kids day that was planned for downtown Weiser on Tuesday was postponed. In addition, a prom for high school students at the Vendome Events Center on Saturday was also rescheduled for later.
 A parade that was certain to attract crowds planned for Saturday in Weiser with the theme of Celebrate Idaho also was postponed according to an email from a committee member.
 Weiser has a parade every year during fiddle week in late June. Weiser’s famous fiddle contest was cancelled this year due to COVID-19 concerns, but organizers wanted to keep the parade tradition going.
 “Our committee is going to get together and pick a date,” committee member Dorothy Evans said.
 The Washington County Democrats cancelled their annual picnic scheduled for Saturday, noting that COVID-19 cases are on the rise locally. A number of Democratic candidates running for office were planning to take part in the parade and a candidate forum later on Saturday at City Park.
 While local coronavirus cases are going up, the state is relaxing restrictions in stage four and is moving to implement stage five, the last stage in reopening plans.  
 In stage five, there are no restrictions on public gatherings and all venues can open.
 Hibberd said the city is taking a cautious approach and will restrict use of the Vendome and approve events there on a case-by-case basis. Events can be held in the city owned facility, but they must be small groups and social distancing must be followed.
 Also, the city is now requiring anybody that enters city hall to wear a facemask.
 “We don’t want to over-react. We’re constantly assessing the situation and we will take whatever action that we need to,” he said.

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