Residents Voice Strong Reaction to Decision
By Jeremy Handel, Staff Writer
The City of Woodruff on Tuesday announced, via its Facebook page, that due to restrictions on the size of group events implemented by Gov. Henry McMaster, the 2020 Woodruff Christmas Parade has been canceled and the reaction from residents was swift and strong.
“We are disappointed to announce that we have to cancel our 2020 Woodruff Christmas Parade due to COVID-19 restrictions,” the Facebook post read. The post also indicated that the upcoming Halloween Off Main Candy Drive-Thru and the annual Woodruff Christmas Stroll would go ahead as planned.
Within minutes of the post, dozens of followers chimed in to express their displeasure with the decision.
“This makes no sense.”; “This is so sad.”; and “This is ridiculous.” were some of the most repeated responses. The city even responded, posting “We are very disappointed to cancel this event as well.”
City Manager Lee Bailey told The Woodruff Times that the city’s hands are tied by Gov. McMaster’s executive order limiting gatherings to 250 people or less and that the City and any organizers of the parade could be charged with a misdemeanor and that the state informed the City that it could be held liable for any COVID-19 exposure outbreaks tied to the parade.
He added that the City was happy to be able to move forward with the Halloween Drive-Thru and the Christmas Stroll to provide residents with some opportunity to celebrate the two holidays and give businesses some help during the holiday season.
“While these decisions are not easy to make, we feel that the City’s decision to cancel one of three events is the correct path for our citizens in light of the current pandemic and rules we have to follow imposed by the State,” Bailey said by email.
Bailey said the Halloween Drive-Thru does not violate the order because participants are required to stay in their cars and walk-ups will not be allowed. The Christmas Stroll will enforce proper distancing for vendors and does not typically attract the large crowd that the Christmas Parade does, allowing for more distancing and flow of the crowd, he added.