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The Villages

Wildwood cancels fall recreation leagues and music festival amid COVID-19 crisis

Wildwood has canceled or postponed its fall recreation leagues due to the COVID-19 pandemic, City Administrator Jason McHugh told commissioners Monday.

Leagues include Pop Warner football, RBI baseball, GFB baseball, adult kickball, and AYSO and Villages soccer.

The city sponsors RBI baseball and adult kickball so those leagues could be postponed. The rest are sponsored by other entities.

McHugh said Wildwood also has canceled a summer music festival scheduled for Aug. 29.

He said two events can be held safely and will continue, including a fall planting, set for Sept. 19 at Clarke Park Community Garden, and a scaled-back Spooktacular Halloween event scheduled Oct. 30 in the City Hall courtyard.

These events allow participants to be protected with masks and social distancing, McHugh said.

Wildwood has had 213 cases of the virus as of Monday, about 16 percent of the 1,303 cases reported in Sumter County

“There are no good answers when it comes to responding to COVID-19 and trying to maintain a balance between keeping the community safe and allowing the community to congregate socially or recreationally,” McHugh wrote in a memo to commissioners. “With the rising count of positive cases and the importance of keeping the schools open, the city should take a (cautious) step and cancel, postpone or modify the leagues and activities.”

He said Wildwood could face liability if the city allows the leagues to proceed during the pandemic.

Mayor Ed Wolf praised McHugh’s decision to cancel or postpone the leagues.

“I think in the interest of safety, you probably made the right call,” he said.

A five-year contract extension for McHugh with an annual salary increase to $135,000 also was approved by commissioners at the meeting.

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