(Nov. 13, 2020) It’s official — the annual Ocean City Christmas parade is canceled because of complications associated with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The parade’s biggest downfall was a negative response from the Worcester County Health Department and the loss of local schools’ participation.
Two weeks ago, Special Events Director Frank Miller said at a council meeting that he had received confirmation that local schools would not be able to participate in the parade because of health risks associated with covid-19, as well as the inability for bands to meet and practice.
Miller then told Ocean City Today that shortly after the meeting he spoke with County Health Officer Rebecca Jones who had relayed several concerns.
First was the ability of city officials and staff to enforce social distancing and mask regulations.
Additionally, Jones apparently was concerned about the possibility of an outbreak, as many of the parade’s participants and spectators come from around the region.
This would reflect poorly on Worcester County, which has, so far, fared better than other jurisdictions, even as cases rise statewide and nationally.
Perhaps the nail in the coffin was how a local outbreak could require a complete overhaul of local school systems’ scheduling and planning.
Worcester County recently invited additional students to begin in-person instruction, although complications have arisen.
A class from Showell Elementary School recently returned to online instruction because of positive cases, while Stephen Decatur High School has returned completely to distance learning as of Wednesday.
Miller relayed Jones’ concerns to City Manager Doug Miller who then informed the mayor and City Council.
However, since then, the council has been mum on the subject.
Ocean City Today asked City Manager Doug Miller about the parade’s fate, and received confirmation that it was officially canceled.
Miller said the council’s motion had been to proceed with a parade unless Jones had concerns. She did, so the council bowed its head and backed off the parade idea.
“As always, safety is the key issue,” Miller said.