As more Carnival groups ditch 2021 plans due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson is making it easier for societies to delay decisions, according to a memorandum sent to parading organizations.
Following a Zoom meeting with groups on Thursday, Stimpson put in writing that societies had until Dec. 11 to apply for a parade permit, but added the permitting fee would not be due until five days before the parade rolls.
In addition, Stimpson wrote groups could wait until almost the last minute to cancel ball reservations for city-owned, ASM Global-managed properties.
“They will be able to cancel their events without a penalty up to a week prior to the events,” Stimpson wrote. “Any deposit placed with ASM for a Mardi Gras venue rental will be returned if the lessee cancels the event due to concern over the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Should a ball be cancelled, any alcoholic beverages purchased by ASM will be paid for by the city and held for the benefit of the lessee for the 2022 Mardi Gras season.”
While Gov. Kay Ivey’s Safer at Home order has been extended until Dec. 11, it’s unknown if it will be in effect by the time parades are set to roll for Carnival season. If it is in place, the city’s legal department has said there can be up to nine people per side and per level on a float at the same time, Stimpson wrote in the guidance.
“Any restrictions above and beyond the Safer at Home Order or subsequent orders from the state are the prerogative of the Mobile County Health Department,” Stimpson wrote. “Ultimately, this is a public health issue which falls within the jurisdiction of the Mobile County Health Department. We will continue to keep you informed of any new information so you can continue to make the best decisions for your organization.”
Groups have already begun canceling 2021 events. Mobile Mask has reported most recently that Crewe of Columbus has cancelled both its ball and parade. The Order of Polka Dots have also cancelled both events next year. The La Krewe de Bienville parade on Joe Cain Day has also reportedly been cancelled, according to Mobile Mask.
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