Updated: April 29, 2021 12:13 PM
Created: April 29, 2021 11:24 AM
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Amid a series of local festival cancellations, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello and Public Health Commissioner Michael Mendoza issued a joint statement Thursday to call on Gov. Andrew Cuomo to release updated guidance on festivals.
Both leaders point to recent studies that say outdoor events and gatherings have low rates of transmission of the coronavirus, especially when proper mitigation measures are in place and people have been vaccinated.
The letter also cites the recent cancelation of several local festivals, notably the Park Avenue Festival, and the Corn Hill Festival. Additionally, several firemen's carnivals announced cancellation plans or shared frustration over a lack of guidance. Recently, Cuomo gave an okay to the New York State Fair, but local operators are looking for answers.
The show has not completely stopped, as the Lilac Festival will return with restrictions in place.
"While we are disappointed with these developments, we also recognize that advanced planning for successful outdoor festivals under the current guidance is incredibly challenging," the letter said.
The statement went on to say that without new guidelines, several more outdoor events may be "dealt the same fate" as those who canceled.
COVID-19 spreads primarily through close person-to-person contact, which is far more common indoors. We should encourage more outdoor events where risk is lower, especially with so many people vaccinated. Let’s work to keep as many of our #ROC outdoor festivals open as possible. pic.twitter.com/dYhdh50vWe— Dr. Mike Mendoza (@DrMikeMendoza) April 29, 2021
Read the statement in its entirety below.
“Over the last week, several local outdoor festivals and events have been forced to postpone their 2021 events because of the lack of clear and reasonable guidelines from New York State. While we are disappointed with these developments, we also recognize that advanced planning for successful outdoor festivals under the current guidance is incredibly challenging.
Recent studies have shown that outdoor events and gatherings have low rates of transmission, especially when proper mitigation measures are in place and people have been vaccinated. It is crucial that our community find ways to gather together safely outdoors in the coming months, at festivals and the other summer activities we had to forego last year.
In order to do so, we are calling on Governor Cuomo and New York State to issue updated, clear guidance and guidelines specific to festivals. Without new guidelines, it is inevitable that additional festivals will be dealt the same fate as those we’ve heard from this week.
Until the time that such additional guidelines are issued, the team at the Monroe County Department of Public Health will continue to work with organizations hoping to host their events this summer to provide advice related to best practices and the state guidelines as they currently exist.
We continue to ask all festival organizers in Monroe County to contact MCDPH to discuss the state guidelines and measures that can help ensure festivals are able to resume in a safe and appropriate manner this year.”
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