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The Town of Vail issued the following press release on Tuesday announcing the cancellation of its annual neighborhood picnics due to public health concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic:
The Town of Vail is canceling its neighborhood picnics this summer due to public health concerns. The gatherings typically attract several hundred residents who enjoy free food and drink served up by the town staff. In evaluating public health guidelines related to food service and sanitation requirements for high-touch areas, the town has determined it is not equipped to accommodate the requirements needed to sponsor a food-related event, nor to adequately control the size of the gathering.
The town has hosted the picnics for the past 20 years as a way to connect with residents close to where they live. Most recently, picnics have been held at Bighorn Park in East Vail during July followed by a picnic in August at Donovan Pavilion in West Vail. In addition to grilled burgers and hot dogs, the gatherings have provided community members with an opportunity to learn more about various town-related projects and topics, and to mingle with their neighbors as well as members of the Vail Town Council and town staff.
Vail Mayor Dave Chapin says that while the cancelation is a disappointment, community members are encouraged to take part in other community engagement activities this summer including a brief user survey about the experimental striping on Vail Valley Drive and an introduction to the West Vail Master Plan, both of which are available on www.EngageVail.com. “I’m hoping we’ll be in a position for these picnics to return a year from now,” said Chapin. “But for now, given the immediate public health considerations, it is best that we cancel.”
Citizens are invited to share their ideas, concerns and suggestions on topics of interest at any time by emailing the Town Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or providing public comment for Town Council agenda items which are accepted until noon on meeting day at email@example.com. Also, the town’s website at www.vailgov.com includes information on town topics and projects as well as e-mail links and phone numbers for all departments, plus links to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Residents are also reminded to review the many free and discounted services offered by the town at www.vailgov.com/free-discounted.
Vail’s Annual Meeting on March 10 was one of the earlier community-gathering cancellations due to the pandemic. The meeting was videotaped by High Five Access Media and is available for viewing online.