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We work hard to have a continuing dialogue with our residents, and to keep you informed on current events in the Village. Last evening, the Village considered the very difficult question of how we should handle summer events this year, in light of current COVID-19 related health restrictions and public safety concerns.
We completely understand that this is a divisive issue, and there are residents who both strongly support some of the statewide restrictions, as well as residents who vehemently oppose them and challenge their legitimacy or enforceability. For our Village, it comes down to two very real, practical issues.
First, our fireworks program and Independence Day Celebrations are supported entirely by donations and vendor contributions, organized by our amazing, volunteer Community Events Committee. With current restrictions and the impact that they have had on our business partners, we simply do not have the donations and contributions necessary to support the event. With the Village’s own financial challenges and limited funding, it was something that we could not take on this year.
Second, and more importantly, we have an obligation to consider the well-being of our community. While many communities are talking about laws and liabilities, our driving motivation is public safety--that is supposed to be the core of our mission. As communities across the state are cancelling their fireworks displays, if the Village held one, attendance would be even greater than normal. There is no practical way to restrict attendance, or to ensure that attendees are safe in their behavior. The potential threat to our residents well-being, and to the safety of our Village employees and volunteers that staff the event is simply too great at present. These celebrations are the highlight of our year, and we are truly saddened to not be able to share them with you at their normally scheduled time. The decision last night was to postpone the festivities, and continue to evaluate if it is safe to hold them at a later time. We will not be hosting a celebration the weekend after Fourth of July (as we customarily do).
Many other communities in the region are taking the same steps--and while our Village Board was considering this last evening, both Batavia and North Aurora were simultaneously voting to cancel their celebrations.
In the short term, the Village is also not permitting solicitors/canvassers to work in the Village, and is not permitting block parties or garage sales. This is in accordance with current state regulations, and recommended health practices. As soon as we can lift those restrictions, we will certainly do so.
We want to make it clear: the Village does not, in any way, benefit from postponing or delaying these events, nor do we benefit from cancelling. We enjoy these events, and our Board is comprised fully of Village residents who want to participate in them just as you do. The difficult decision that had to be made here--and that is being made in communities across the state and country--was made based upon the best available information, in a fashion intended to provide a reasonable and conservative approach to unprecedented conditions. We hope our residents understand, and we’re always happy to engage and talk more.