The Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association, organizer of the Summer Concert Series: Singing on the Square, has been monitoring the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) public health crisis in Limestone County.
As with all decisions, a major factor was weighing the benefits against the harms, including the well-being of our citizens – our friends, family and neighbors who are elderly, newborn, battling cancer, living with immune conditions, living with heart conditions or diabetes and other underlying health concerns – while also considering the well-being of our economy and the potential impact should a rollback of operation for restaurants, shops, and other facilities in the community by order of the Governor Kay Ivey and Alabama Public Health occur; and the potential of a reinstatement of a "Shelter in Place Order" due to the present and continuing increases in the number of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) cases in Limestone County and throughout the state of Alabama that has had the Alabama Public Health authorities presently labeling Limestone county a "VERY HIGH RISK" for transmission preceding the July 4th weekend.
With these many factors and more in motion during this public health crisis, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association has determined the remainder of the Summer Concert Series: Singing on the Square should be canceled to aid in efforts to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) in the best interest of our community.
Teresa Todd, President of Athens Limestone Tourism, said, "It's not a decision we came to lightly, as so many in the Athens-Limestone community are desperately seeking some normalcy during these uncertain times. I’ve become friends with so many of our regular attendees who look forward to every summer for these concerts. However, if I was to cause harm to any one of them I would be devastated.”
The Athens-Limestone County Tourism’s popular Summer Concert Series brings hundreds of spectators to the Marion Street steps of the Limestone County Courthouse for each free concert. In 2018, Athens Main Street aligned Fridays After Five with the Summer Concert Series drawing even larger crowds to the Square for dining, shopping, and other activities in addition to Tourism’s concert. The crowds grew again as the Athens Entertainment District was introduced by Athens Main Street and the City of Athens during the June 19, 2020 activities. There were efforts by Athens-Limestone County Tourism and Mayor Ronnie Marks through public address and signage promoting six-foot social distancing; encouraging people to avoid individuals and groups outside of their households; urging people to wear masks to protect themselves and those around them; and maintaining their sanitization practices during the June 19, 2020 event which had Alabama Public Health label Limestone County as a MODERATE RISK for infection.
The jump in SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) cases that led Alabama Public Health to upgrade from MODERATE RISK to VERY HIGH RISK for Limestone County in the fourteen-day period from Singing on the Square-Fridays After Five-Athens Entertainment District Launch until the eve before the July 4th weekend raised concerns about upcoming events including Tourism’s July’s Summer Concert Series performance.
“As stewards in our community, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association made the decision out of abundance of caution for the greater interest of our community with hopes that our Summer Concert Event, along with many others, can return in 2021 to a happy, healthy, and prosperous Athens-Limestone," said Cayce Lee, Social Media Specialist of Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association.
By: Cayce Lee
Social Media Specialist, Athens-Limestone County Tourism Association