Troy moves forward with Christmas tree lighting despite COVID warning

The Christmas tree for Troy's Public Square was delivered Thursday, Nov. 12. The city's Holiday Lighting 2020 event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27. There will be Christmas music, the arrival of Santa on a fire truck and the annual lighting of the tree and levee lights. Facial coverings and social distancing are encouraged and commemorative masks will be available. LISA POWELL / STAFF
The Christmas tree for Troy's Public Square was delivered Thursday, Nov. 12. The city's Holiday Lighting 2020 event kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27. There will be Christmas music, the arrival of Santa on a fire truck and the annual lighting of the tree and levee lights. Facial coverings and social distancing are encouraged and commemorative masks will be available. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: Lisa Powell

Credit: Lisa Powell

Mayor said she was ‘simply not willing to let another event to be removed from Troy residents.’

TROY — Mayor Robin Oda said the city of Troy will move forward with a Holiday Lighting event against the recommendation of Miami County Public Health to give COVID-weary people “a little joy, a little taste of tradition.”

The city quickly planned a Holiday Lighting event for Friday, Nov. 27, on the Public Square after being notified by Troy Main Street that the annual Grand Illumination activity was being canceled.

The cancellation came after Public Health nixed Main Street’s proposed event plan due to the crowd the event usually draws, the county’s increase in COVID cases and the “highly likely chance” of COVID spread, according to emails obtained from Public Health.

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Health Commissioner Dennis Propes asked the mayor in a Nov. 13 email to reconsider plans.

“Given that the county has hit level 3 (Red), I highly encourage you to rethink the city’s position on this event and cancel or restructure. The cases in the county, and in Troy in particular, are at an all-time high, we have had almost 250 cases in Troy in the past 12 days alone,” Propes wrote.

“We all want our businesses to remain open and for us to keep a slice of normal, if this pace and trajectory continue the state is going to be shutting down things, we together can work to prevent this by encouraging Troy to wear their masks, social distance and remain home when sick or quarantined,” Propes added. “You can help with this by being a model for the community (wearing your mask) and enforcing the mask mandate in the city buildings and events.”

Oda responded via email saying the advice would be taken under advisement.

“We believe that the tree-lighting will be a very safe event, and that the community has no need for concern. The square is quite large and has plenty of capacity,” Oda wrote. “This event will last approximately one hour and is very limited in scope from what it has been previously. However, we also know that opinions and thoughts will be split on this, just like everything else in 2020.”

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Oda said this week she was “simply not willing to let another event to be removed from Troy residents.”

“The Health Commissioner and I are both getting hit from both sides of this issue, as we have for most of 2020, and I think we understand where the other is coming from. I respect the fact that he has to do what he has to do, and he understands that I will do the same,” Oda said.

Propes, asked if he could order the city to not hold the event, and if he would consider to take that step, said the answer “is not known at this point.”

Oda said the modified event Friday, Nov. 27, will be shorter than previous events and will encourage social distancing and masking. Santa will be on a stage where children can say " hi” and receive a small gift bag.

More information on the city event is available on the city website at troyohio.gov.

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