On Tuesday morning Pontotoc Mayor Bob Peeples announced that Pontotoc's 2020 Christmas parade has been cancelled due to the rising number of coronavirus cases in the county.
Last Friday (Nov. 13) chamber of commerce and city officials had outlined a plan to have the parade on the night of December 7 as scheduled.
City officials had unveiled a plan to almost double the parade route that night, thus allowed plenty of room for social distancing while watching the parade.
But on Monday (Nov. 16) afternoon Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced that Pontotoc County was among seven counties placed under a mask mandate because of the rising number of coronavirus cases.
Mayor Peeples said he consulted with the city's aldermen Monday night and the consensus was to error on the side of caution.
On Tuesday morning Mayor Peeples issued the following statement:
"It is with deep sadness and heavy heart that we have made the decision to cancel this year's Christmas Parade. As of last week, we were still making plans to have our parade, but we were making minor adjustments to keep everyone as safe as possible."
"However, it is hard to get around the fact that our COVID-19 numbers are rising in Pontotoc County. The city schools and some of our churches have had outbreaks and have had to take steps to keep their people as safe as possible."
"On Monday Governor Tate Reeves put a mask order on Pontotoc County until December 11, unless social distancing can be implemented. I do not think that it is prudent at this time to have a mass gathering such as a parade. I have consulted the aldermen, as well as other city leaders, in reaching this decision."
"Part of the fabric that makes Pontotoc so special are the events such as the Christmas Parade. Traditions that allow us to celebrate and come together as a community help us to develop pride and community spirit."
"It is for these reasons that this decision to cancel this year's parade is so troubling. I encourage everyone to continue to use common sense to keep your families safe during these troubling times. Thank you for your understanding on this matter," Mayor Peeples concluded.