Last week, Leavenworth city officials reviewed plans for a holiday parade with city commissioners. This week, commissioners agreed to cancel the parade because of COVID-19 concerns.
"Unfortunately, it’s just a sign of the times," Mayor Mike Griswold said.
He said commissioners did not have a choice other than canceling the parade because of the coronavirus crisis has dramatically worsened.
Griswold spoke Tuesday at the end of a City Commission study session.
A week earlier, City Manager Paul Kramer and Parks and Recreation Director Steve Grant reviewed plans for what they referred to as the Mayor’s Holiday Lighted Parade. The event was planned for Dec. 4 in the downtown area.
Kramer and Grant said the parade route would have passed by several city-owned parking lots to allow people to watch the parade from their vehicles.
Kramer said Tuesday that commissioners had not taken a vote on the parade last week but there seemed to have been a consensus in support of the event.
Kramer said the parade stands out now because of concerns about an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Leavenworth County. He asked commissioners for feedback about the parade.
"I know we just talked about it last week but it is coming up shortly," he said.
Commissioner Jermaine Wilson said the parade should be canceled to avoid a mass gathering.
The other commissioners agreed the event should be canceled.
Kramer said the city will still have a Christmas tree and light display set up at Haymarket Square for people to visit during the holiday season. But there will not be a tree lighting ceremony this year.
Kramer said city officials had made the decision Tuesday to not allow events or groups of more than 10 people at the Riverfront Community Center because of concerns about COVID-19.
He said the city also is not accepting reservations for events at Haymarket Square for the remainder of the year.
Commissioner Mark Preisinger said Leavenworth County does not have mandatory COVID-19 mitigation measures in place such as a mask order. He said surrounding counties have such measures in place.
"I think action needs to be taken," he said.
Preisinger noted that the county health officer was scheduled to speak with Leavenworth County Board of County Commissioners the following morning.
"I hope they take some decisive action," he said.
Preisinger proposed the City Commission should meet to discuss how to proceed in the city if no action is taken at the county level.
During Wednesday’s Board of County Commissioners meeting, a motion was made for a mask mandate in the county. But the motion died because of a lack of second.