Friday, February 26, 2021
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The Villages

Villagers opposed to festivals at town squares during COVID-19 pandemic

A registered nurse in The Villages is one of many residents here in Florida’s Friendliest Hometown opposed to reviving festivals at town squares during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Villages Entertainment Department has announced plans to celebrate Mardi Gras and St. Patrick’s Day in the coming months, as well as stage a Strawberry Festival at Brownwood.

“The hospitals are full and the healthcare workers are tired! Masks and social distancing are not being followed. We will never end this virus if society doesn’t listen and do the correct thing,” said Villager Pam DeClerico, a nurse at UF Health-The Villages Hospital.

She said it is imperative that Centers for Disease Control guidelines be followed with regard to masks and social distancing. Villagers’ well known love of dancing and drinking during festivals at town square would be a risk not worth taking, she said.

“It’s disrespectful to see The Villages acting as though there is nothing wrong and expecting the healthcare workers to risk their lives and the lives of their families because of the selfish and entitled attitudes,” DeClerico said.

Village of Briar Meadow resident Harry Miller agrees that bringing back festivals is irresponsible.

It’s bad enough that they foolishly opened the squares, where virtually no one wears masks, but the festivals will be even worse for ‘super spreader’ events. If the Developer put as much effort into getting sufficient vaccine for the population as he does in promoting festivals and making money, we’d be much better off in ‘Florida’s Healthiest Town,’” Miller said.

The possibility of spreading the potentially deadly Coronavirus wouldn’t be limited to those joining in the fun at the town squares.

The people who are careless will interact with the rest of us at grocery stores, banks, etc. and some refuse to wear masks,” said Paul Favreau of the Village of Charlotte.

Villager Barbara O’Hare suggested The Villages should stage a different type of celebration.

Maybe if they were able to hold a Vaccination Festival, it would be more acceptable, but for now, I would say that we should hold off,” O’Hare said.

Villager Dimple Beck said residents should have “freedom of choice” when it comes to joining in festivals at the square.

“We each have a choice to make. Go or stay home,” Beck said.

Villager Trish Conn said it’s “a great idea” to rev up the festivals again.

“People who aren’t ready to begin living again should stay home,” she said.

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