For the second straight year, the COVID-19 pandemic will be playing tricks with area children, not treating them, as two Hudson Valley communities have already been forced to cancel Halloween events.
In Westchester, the Tarrytown Halloween parade has preemptively been canceled due to the new rise in COVID-19 infections, while in Rockland, Nyack is following suit out of an abundance of caution.
With the Delta COVID-19 variant becoming the dominant strain - representing more than 90 percent of all new infections - of the virus, local officials are moving proactively to cancel some events in an effort to help curb the spread of the virus.
Prior to the pandemic, thousands turned out for the Halloween parades in both Nyack and Tarrytown, which featured music, dancing, holiday fare, and children decked out in their favorite costumes.
“After detailed discussions with the Village of Nyack, and based upon concerns for public health and public safety, the Nyack Chamber of Commerce regrets to say that the Nyack Halloween Parade 2021 has been postponed to 2022,” the Chamber posted on Facebook.
In a statement, Tarrytown officials announced that both the Halloween parade and block party were also called out “to protect our most precious attendees, our children.
“This was not an easy decision and we look forward to the parade returning in 2022,” they added. “Thank you for all your support and enthusiasm.”
Both decisions have drawn swift backlash from area residents, with some supporting the move, and others questioning why other events over the summer were held, such as fireworks shows and street fairs that had hundreds of attendees.
It marks the second straight year that the parades will be canceled, following a lost 2020 when infections began spiking in the fall around Halloween.
“We know that we have some events coming up, and we saw a spike last year when the numbers were going up … And what triggered it? Halloween,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said during her most recent COVID-19 briefing on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
“That’s exactly when the numbers started going up. Then people started gathering at Thanksgiving, and we told people to stick to small settings, not large gatherings … And I think a lot of them didn’t listen.”
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