In a letter to the COVID-19 unified command, the Medical Society of Mobile County has asked local officials to cancel Mardi Gras “in its current form” in early 2021 to avoid spread of the disease.
In the letter, addressed to Mobile County Emergency Management Director Mike Evans and released through the Mobile County Health Department (MCHD), the society touted the success social distancing and wearing face coverings has had in stopping further spread of the virus, but noted those measures would be hard to follow for events like Mardi Gras parades.
“Current guidance from the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and [the Alabama Department of Public Health] emphasize that non-work gatherings must maintain [six-foot] spacing,” the letter reads. “Clearly with the upcoming holiday, social, parade and Carnival season, there will be a number of events where [six-foot] spacing cannot be maintained by the county municipalities. The event that poses the most staggering and considerable risk are parades, where thousands of citizens attend, crowded together and remain for several hours along various parade routes.”
The importance of slowing the spread of the disease is important, the letter noted, as COVID-19 numbers continue to rise in our area. Recent data collected by MCHD points to the potential of as many as 3.6 percent of individuals tested were unknown carriers of the disease. Just under 20 percent of those tested in Mobile County are positive for COVID-19, according to the letter.
“These are both unacceptable numbers for a highly contagious virus in an already vulnerable community,” the letter states. “The net effect is that as the disease slope increases, the impact on our community will be devastating.”
When asked about the letter during a press event for an unrelated announcement, Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said Mardi Gras parades could be discussed at a later date. He confirmed the city has not issued any parade permits at this time.
“There are no parades in the near future,” he said.
A number of Carnival groups have canceled parades and balls already and Stimpson has asked for them to come up with creative ways to host events during the season. One idea, inspired by Fairhope’s Christmas parade, is to hold drive-thru parades where the floats are stationary and revelers drive past them.
MCHD announced 656 new cases for the week of Nov. 22 and 163 new cases on Tuesday, Dec. 1. MCHD announced 24 new COVID-19 hospitalizations and a total of three deaths.
The total COVID-19 countywide numbers stand at 20,203 cases, 2,657 hospitalizations and 367 deaths since the start of the pandemic.
This page is available to our subscribers. Join us right now to get the latest local news from local reporters for local readers.
The best deal is found by clicking here. Click here right now to find out more. Check it out.
Already a member of the Lagniappe family? Sign in by clicking here