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Watkins Glen talks about Halloween planning ADVERTISEMENT

Watkins Glen talks about Halloween planning

WATKINS GLEN--The Watkins Glen village board of trustees discussed possibilities for Halloween this year and the cancellation of the Village Christmas event during the Tuesday, Oct. 6 meeting. Regarding Halloween, Mayor Luke Leszyk said the village is in a holding pattern as it waits to see what surrounding communities are planning to do. Despite the fact the village might not have an official Halloween this year, Leszyk said he still expects some Halloween activities to occur.
"(People going trick or treating) does not constitute an organized event... I am sure everyone will be wearing their masks anyway," Leszyk said jokingly in that pandemic face-coverings and costume masks would likely both be seen on Halloween.
However, as Village Christmas would constitute an organized event, it could be difficult to navigate the event under current state regulations that limit events to 50 people.
Deputy Mayor Lou Perazzini said he was disappointed by the cancellation of Village Christmas by Watkins Glen Promotions and said the village board should have been consulted.
"Everyone's concern is that we are allowing thousands of people to come here on the weekends to our stores and streets so why should we be penalized... I just feel that the decision was premature... and that it can still be pulled off and safe," Perazzini said.
While it is true that thousands of people visit Watkins Glen every week, they technically do not constitute organized gatherings and therefore aren't beholden to a 50 person limit.
Also of concern is that should Watkins hold Village Christmas, or even an official Halloween, residents of neighboring municipalities could descend upon Watkins Glen en masse as their Christmas or Halloween events could be canceled depending on COVID case numbers.
Individual trick or treating during Halloween is also different from an organized gathering because families make that decision for themselves.
"There is nothing we could really do about that," Leszyk said of trick or treating if there was not a designated time and people chose to go anyway.
The board also discussed the village's response to COVID, with trustee Laurie DeNardo saying now is the time to remain vigilant to prevent another outbreak.
"If police see something (they should react)," DeNardo said.
With the recent outbreak in Chemung County associated with a church in Horseheads, DeNardo said it would be easy for a second outbreak to occur in Schuyler.
"The best we can do is be proactive... if we get lax and get shut down, that would be the last thing we want," DeNardo added.
While acknowledging that another shutdown would be disastrous, Leszyk said it is still important to balance individual rights.
"We have to balance a fine line," Leszyk said.

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