ROCK HALL — Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the mayor and council here have canceled the Rock Hall Home for the Holidays Celebration and New Year’s events planned by the town Parks and Recreation Committee.
As of press time Wednesday, there have been 41 total cases in the Rock Hall Zip code. The Chestertown Zip code has had 237 cases.
“We are participating now,” Mayor Dawn Jacobs said of the pandemic during the town’s Nov. 12 business meeting.
The Home for the Holidays event would have included carriage rides as well as other attractions like live music and food. Parks and Recreation also annually hosts a hat parade on New Year’s Eve as well as the Big Dip on New Year’s Day where brave community members take a brief swim in the Chesapeake Bay.
Jacobs said members of the Parks and Recreation Committee were agreeable to the events being canceled because of the virus. All members of the council expressed their disappointment at having to cancel the events.
Council member Eleanor Collyer suggested having a “vaccination celebration” because of all the events the council has canceled or postponed due to the pandemic.
The Rock Hall Volunteer Fire Company also has historically hosted a fish drop at midnight on New Year. That event also has been canceled in an effort to prevent crowds from gathering in town.
The town’s annual crab basket tree, however, will be constructed in early December as planned. There will not be a tree lighting ceremony this year. Visitors to the crab basket are encouraged to social distance and wear a mask.
Council member Tim Edward said the fire company might drive Santa Claus around town in a fire truck, which Jacobs supported. Collyer agreed, calling a drive-thru Santa Claus event a “safer prospect,” she said.
The council also introduced ordinance 2020-03 to change certain fees charged by the town. The ordinance is available on the town’s website at rockhallmd.com.
There will be a public hearing for 6 p.m. during the Dec. 10 meeting for the fee changes. The hearing will be conducted via video conference as the town hall remains closed due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Town Manager Bob Resele said, due to high rainfall, the town’s primary lagoon is almost full meaning staff may need to utilize the second lagoon. In order to do so, Reese said he’ll have to notify the state first.
Following a smoke test, Resele said they did not identify many sources of water flow into the town’s system. He said much of the excess water is due to high rainfall.
Jacobs said the council has been sent a “White Allies” pledge to sign by the Social Action Committee for Racial Justice. She suggested each council member read it and consider it, but not sign it because of their status as members of the town council.
Jacobs noted the council previously made a statement denouncing racism during a June meeting.