CHARLESTON, S.C. – Towns like Mt. Pleasant and Summerville are planning for this year’s Christmas parades. The events will look different this year due to extra COVID-19 precautions.
Thousands of people come out to enjoy the holiday festivities every year.
This year, the S.C. Department of Commerce has to approve events where more than 250 guests are expected. Both towns’ events have already been approved.
In Summerville, there will be less floats and less people on the floats as part of social-distancing guidelines. Participants will also not be allowed to give out any handouts such as candy.
Steven Doniger, the executive director of Summerville DREAM, says they should still be able to have a fun event while staying safe.
“We are requesting that everybody wear face coverings and we’re going to be providing spacing between the different floats,” Doniger said. “The streets are plenty big for people to walk, but if you limit the number of people per entry that allows them to space out a bit more as well.”
The event will also be live streamed for those who want the enjoy the parade in the comfort of their own homes.
Officials in Mt. Pleasant are also looking at limiting the number of floats allowed in the parade. Normally they would have 100 floats, but they may cut it down to 50 to 60 floats.
“It’s time that the kids have a break and really get a chance to get out and have a good time,” Mt. Pleasant town Councilman Gary Santos said. “We will encourage everybody to social distance, we’ll encourage everybody to wear their masks and we’ll have a lot more of our public safety folk out there making sure people are doing the right thing.”
When asked what applicants must do the receive approval from the state department of commerce, a spokesperson issued the following statement:
“As outlined in the executive order, SC Commerce works in close consultation with DHEC to review applications for events where more than 250 attendees are expected. Also outlined in the executive order are categories of gatherings not subject to review. In either scenario, event organizers are to adhere to applicable sanitation, social distancing, and hygiene guidelines from CDC, DHEC and any other state/federal public health officials. Additionally, best practices include adhering to 50% or less capacity, requiring face coverings, having appropriate signage, adhering to local ordinances, among other safety/healthy considerations.
Finally, it’s important to remember that event hosts are encouraged to review and complete the general readiness assessment, which aligns with the CDC’s Considerations for Events and Gatherings. This is a critical step to help event planners and administrators protect staff, volunteers and attendees, and slow the spread of COVID-19.”