CARMEL, Calif. (KION)
UPDATE 8/4/20 - The Carmel-by-the-Sea City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to cancel the remaining "special events" in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Events still on the calendar included the Sandcastle Contest, Pumpkin Roll, Homecoming, City Birthday Parade, Veteran’s Day Ceremony, the Homecrafters’ Marketplace and the annual Holiday Celebration. However, right now, local and state COVID-19 health orders do not allow for large gatherings.
The Staff Report published ahead of Tuesday's meeting writes:
"With the understanding that it takes anywhere from three to six months to organize any of the City’s special events, staff recommends that all Fall/Winter City events be cancelled through the end of the calendar year 2020. While it is a disappointment to cancel events, doing so sooner rather than later allows staff to proactively communicate with community groups and volunteers who help to support City events, as well as event attendees, who have already been making inquiries about the City’s Fall/Winter events.Carmel-by-the-Sea City Council 8/4/20 agenda
ORIGINAL REPORT 7/30/20 - Carmel-by-the-Sea seems as packed as ever as the Central Coast experiences renewed restrictions for businesses and public life.
"I think we've gone from one extreme to another. The city was closed for three months, and now the city is completely open without a little bit of respect for the current COVID-19 restrictions and precautions," said Dr. Oriana Vesga, a Carmel resident.
For businesses here, foot traffic is essential. Most of the people seen walking through the tourist town were wearing masks, yet some were not.
The city says they want to make sure you do. Next Tuesday, council members will consider two emergency ordinances: one will allow enforcement of face covering orders through fines, the other targets businesses who might not be following COVID-19 outdoor dining rules.
"We want to let the public know we're very, very serious about this situation. The only way we can protect our public is by making sure we wear a mask, that we respect social distancing and we don't attend events that are inappropriate at this time," said Carmel Mayor Dave Potter.
The city is trying to lead by example. Four city events are likely to be cancelled toward the end of the year: the Veterans Day event, Halloween and Christmas celebrations and the city's birthday party.
Many events in Carmel, like Car Week's popular Concours on the Avenue and the Carmel Bach Festival, were canned.
According to the Monterey County Health Department, COVID-19 numbers in Carmel's zip code reported only 11 cases so far. Still, residents believe it is prudent to do more.
"Am I sad that the Car Week got cancelled, the Monterey Jazz Festival got cancelled? Absolutely," said Dr. Vesga. "Do I think it is the right thing to do to not follow the correct precautions and open the town arbitrarily or indiscriminately? No."
"You know, those events actually bring people into town. We are a tourism-based economy here, but we have to be honest with each other," said Mayor Potter. "We need to protect the public, that's what this is all about."