In light of the current surge in positive case counts and ongoing pandemic emergency, coupled with the ongoing public health order mandates prohibiting large gatherings, Los Alamos County officials announced this week that there will not be a holiday tree in the lobby of the Municipal Building next week. In past years, the County has supplied the tree as part of the annual tree lighting ceremonies that take place during Winterfest. This year’s Winterfest event is set to occur Dec. 4-6.
“While we appreciate the tradition of lighting up the tree for the citizens of Los Alamos, we want to encourage everyone to follow COVID Safe Practices and stay home unless travel is absolutely necessary,” said Harry Burgess, County Manager, adding that the County continues to financially support the activities sponsored by the Main Street Association for Winterfest.
“As previously demonstrated with ScienceFest and Halloweekend, we have had a positive response to the virtual events offered by the creative staff at the Main Street Association and with promotion by our local Chamber of Commerce. This year’s theme for Winterfest is ‘Home for the Holidays,’, and we encourage everyone to stay home and participate safely in the variety of online activities that they will be offering Dec. 4 – 6,” Burgess said,
Burgess said the top priority of the County continues to be on addressing the pandemic emergency and keeping essential services operating smoothly while minimizing on-site staffing to comply with the recent public health order.
“Like other communities around New Mexico, the COVID-19 pandemic has created a need for us to think differently about all public events such as the annual tree lighting,” he said, “We look forward to 2021 and the implementation of a vaccine nation-wide that may allow many of these well-loved community events to once again take place.
In addition, Burgess noted that the County also encourages residents to shop locally for their holiday gifts and meals. On Tuesday evening, the County Council supported a proclamation declaring Saturday, Nov. 28 as “Small Business Saturday,” an initiative that Burgess said is important now more than ever for Los Alamos businesses to survive the impacts of the pandemic.
“Our local businesses have been greatly impacted by COVID-19 and multiple closures, altered business hours of operation and limited store access, and I hope everyone will do their part to support them during this difficult time,” he said, adding that options being promoted by the Chamber of Commerce include the purchase of gift cards from local stores, shopping online or using curbside delivery, or picking up a meal from a local restaurant using their curbside or delivery services.
“Los Alamos has done a wonderful job as a community in supporting all of these efforts in the last eight months,” he said, “now is the time to step up our support even more by patronizing these businesses who need our help.”
Burgess wished the community a safe and happy holiday season, and thanked residents for supporting County efforts with understanding and patience.
“I would like to wish everyone happy holidays, and I encourage our community to continue to follow the current public health order to keep friends and family safe from the coronavirus by avoiding mass gatherings over the next few weeks. We will continue to do our part at Los Alamos County to promote COVID Safe Practices among our employees and within our facilities, and urge residents to follow the lead of the Main Street Association and simply stay ‘Home for the Holidays’ this year,” he said.