City will not mandate Halloween rules

Published 3:44 pm Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The decision as to whether to participate in Halloween in this frightening year of COVID-19 will be left up to individuals, families and businesses, said Natchez Mayor Dan Gibson.

The issue of Halloween, the city’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony and Christmas Parade were part of the discussion at a meeting this week of the county and city’s emergency operations committee.

“We need to leave the decision on Halloween up to families and businesses. We don’t think they should be compelled to participate if they feel uncomfortable. If they don’t feel they can participate, that’s their decision,” Gibson said. “We encourage those businesses downtown that traditionally hand out candy to do so safely. Please don’t allow children to reach into a bag and retrieve candy. Treat candy just as you would any item you would serve at your home or give out at your business.”

He urged homeowners who do not want to participate in Halloween, to turn their lights off at their homes.

“The city is not going to mandate Halloween rules for the community. If you do choose to participate, do it safely, please. Wear a mask. It’s a simple ask. Be kind and considerate of others,” Gibson said.

Likewise, he said the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting at Main and Commerce streets would go forward on Friday, Nov. 27 — the day after Thanksgiving — but with a socially responsible twist.

“We will do it in accordance with EOC and safety guidelines. We plan to have a Facebook Live event, so those who want to watch the Christmas tree lighting from home can do so,” Gibson said. “Those who do want to attend in person will be asked to wear a mask and to social distance. And we will limit the timing of the ceremony so it’s not very long.”

The city’s Christmas Parade will happen this year, as well.

“We have allowed rallies, political demonstrations and a safe biker rally parade two weeks ago,” Gibson said. “If we are going to permit those activities, we must permit the Christmas parade to go forward. Everyone participating in the parade will be asked not to throw candy or other items. We are going to do a good job of promoting the parade and in doing so we will ask people to wear masks and to watch the parade with their own safe group of family and friends. Most likely bands will not perform, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

“If we celebrate all these other things this year, we certainly need to celebrate Christmas, at this time when we need it most,” he said.