“Very needlessly risky”: Ocean City Christmas Parade generates health concern, back to drawing board

OCEAN CITY, Md. – The  Ocean City Town Council recently voted to move forward with their annual Christmas Parade but their plans may change after hearing recommendations from the health department.

“Any type of risk to the high schools or any of the schools in Worcester County is not something we want to stir up,” says Frank Miller, the special events director for the town of Ocean City.

Ocean City officials are heading back to the drawing board for this year’s Christmas Parade after the Worcester County Health Department expressed some concerns. “This is also an event that just seems like it could be, in the form that it was put out earlier, if it was a traditional type parade, very needlessly risky,” says Travis Brown with the Worcester County Health Department.

This comes after the council voted, on Tuesday, in favor of hosting the event on December 5th. Organizers say the parade usually attracts five-thousand spectators along about a one mile route. “However being one of the only parades on the Eastern Shore that could, and the Health Department did bring this up as a point, that could generate additional people coming to Ocean City,” says Miller.

Some also believe it would be difficult to enforce mask wearing as well as social distancing, which are immediate red flags for health experts. “Then we were concerned with how such a large potential gathering might cause a spike to our positivity rate and then that would lead to directly affecting the schools because that would impact their ability to reopen on the timeline they’re working on right now,” says Brown.

Organizers say they’re working closely with health officials to make the best decision and are still hoping to do something for the community, even if it looks a little different. “If council decides to move forward, we’re going to think outside the box and try to make something great for them,” says Miller.

Organizers say many schools, band groups and youth sports teams already decided not to participate this year. However, many businesses that usually sponsor the parade expressed support. Officials tell 47 ABC, the council will likely make a final decision during the next meeting on Monday.

Categories: Local News, Maryland