Chamber announces re-evaluation of late 2021 events

We may have thought – as the spring gave way to summer – that COVID’s ugly grip on Ross County was relenting. But, the advent of the Delta variant shook us back to reality.

September has been a wake-up call for all of us. Our cases are on pace to be at least our second highest month since the COVID era began and may eclipse December 2021 as our worst month yet. Hospitalizations have never been higher.

Add to that the cumulative effect of a challenging hiring environment, and everyone is, well, tired. 

We’re feeling it, too. Our staff was hit with the COVID surge this month, which meant we had one person doing the work of all three at a busy time. 

As a result, we’re re-evaluating all our events for the rest of the year. 

Ribbon cutting events, which are generally small crowds and can be distanced, continue, and we have a few coming up. We’ll continue evaluating those individually.

We’ve modified the October Business After Business event at Bell Manor. The owners have graciously accommodated our request to institute safe practices to help keep folks healthy. We may limit capacity if the current trends hold. 

Unfortunately, with our staffing issues – coupled with challenges for our downtown businesses – we are canceling Puttin’ on the Ritz for a second straight year. We’d love to do the event, but in all honesty, we’re all tired, and the day-to-day work of serving members is essential. Taking a step back on some events helps us stay mentally fresh and focused on our vital work to help our businesses adapt to the current environment. 

We’re still committed to the Downtown Holiday Open House kickoff, with the tree lighting and welcoming of Santa, on Friday, Nov. 19, since it’s an outdoor event. However, the 2021 Business Expo, scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 17, is an indoor event, and its status is up in the air.

We don’t have a committed sponsor for our December BAB and may end up canceling that event. 

We’ll keep in touch with you to let you know what we’re doing. In the meantime, we encourage vaccination, distancing, and staying home if you’re sick. It’s the best way to keep our businesses open and making money.