PASCAGOULA, Miss. (AP) — The uptick in coronavirus cases is causing many cities across the Mississippi Gulf Coast to cancel or alter their holiday celebrations.
WLOX reports that Pascagoula on Wednesday canceled its annual Downtown for the Holidays event. Other events that have been canceled include the Ocean Springs Christmas parade and D'Iberville's Santa's Workshop, a tree lighting and a parade. In Biloxi, the tree lighting will be held virtually.
Pascagoula Mayor Steve Demetropoulous, who is also a physician, said it's not worth it to take the risk of having the holiday event.
“With more new infections come more hospitalizations and more deaths,” Demetropoulos said. “A public health advisory was sent out ... to cancel all other social events where there’s large gatherings of people.”
In Gautier, officials are still going forward with their Lights and Lagniappe on the Bayou event but will take extra precautions. People will be able to watch the events, which include a Christmas tree lighting and a fireworks display, from vehicles. Gift bags for children will be placed on the hoods of cars.
For some business owners, the cancelation of holiday events has financial repercussions. Chris Batterman owns Jack's by the Tracks in Pascagoula, and he worries about curtailing holiday festivities.
“As long as they keep telling people, ‘Don’t go see your family, don’t hangout in groups, don’t do this, don’t do that, don’t travel,’ well, that’s essentially shutting everything down," Batterman said.