The Town of Auburn has cancelled its 2021 Summer in the Park Concert Series and its 2021 Independence Day Celebration events due to Covid-19 and associated state Covid orders, the Town announced on Tuesday.
“While these signature events are wonderful community activities, the state orders related to Covid restrictions – including gatherings limitations, facial coverings and social distancing requirements – severely limit the types of activities we can hold and ensure the health and safety of attendees, guests, employees, performers, vendors and volunteers ” said Town Manager Julie Jacobson in a statement.
In all cases, Jacobson noted the challenges with planning and organizing large scale events like Independence Day and Summer in the Park. Town staff and volunteers spend months planning and preparing for the Independence Day celebration; fireworks usually must be booked a year ahead of time. Lining up vendors, performers, staff, shuttles and other logistics months ahead of time when guidance, regulations and restrictions are changing – sometimes weekly – is a nearly impossible task. Further, requirements such as masks, distancing or sanitation require resources the Town just does not have.
“The concert series and Independence Day events typically attract large crowds which make it difficult if not impossible to adhere to Covid requirements and protocols and ensure the health and safety of attendees.”
The Town also will not be holding its Summer Recreation Camps for 2021 due to strict requirements imposed on summer camp operators.
“These extensive requirements (i.e. staffing criteria, health and safety protocols) will be extremely difficult to implement. The health and safety of our campers and employees is paramount so we have made this difficult but necessary decision” Jacobson added.
The Town also put a pause on organizing any town-sponsored recreational sports activities such as their adult soccer and basketball leagues. These sports are still classified as moderate or high risk activities by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and/or the CDC.
Non-town sponsored non-municipal organized sports leagues can utilize Town fields by applying for a permit through the DPW and complying with all requirements pertaining to the permit. The youth sports leagues in Auburn are all independent (non-municipal) organizations: Auburn Little League; United Soccer of Auburn; Auburn-Worcester Youth Lacrosse; Auburn Youth Basketball; Auburn Fastpitch League (softball); and Auburn Youth Football and Cheer all operate as independent non-profit organizations.
The general public can utilize parks and fields without a permit, but cannot secure a reserved time slot without a permit. The public must comply with all Covid protocols and state orders including health and safety protocols, gathering limits, social distancing, and face coverings.
Added Jacobson, “We are working to provide new or continue to provide no-contact, low risk outdoor activities for our residents…We thank you for your understanding of the measures that we are taking to ensure the health and safety of our residents, employees and visitors.”