With the tentacles of the coronavirus reaching ever deeper into the community-at-large, we’re learning today that its impact is canceling some of St. Joseph Today’s holiday events, altering others, and forcing the shutdown of the organization’s offices and Welcome Center for two full weeks of quarantining.
St. Joseph Today Executive Director Amy Zapal says, “This weekend the St. Joe Today staff was informed that we had been in contact with a person that tested positive for COVID-19. SJT will be following Berrien County Health Department recommendations for quarantining. This means our office will be closed for 14 days. With current MDHHS Epidemic Orders, SJT will reevaluate circumstances at the end of the quarantine.”
Zapal adds, “This situation, along with the MDHHS orders, requires some changes for our office and upcoming winter events. The health and safety of our visitors, residents and members is critical to St. Joseph Today.”
Please see below for changes in the St. Joe Today workplace:
The Welcome Center will be closed from Monday, November 16th until Monday, November 30th. After that, the organization will reevaluate circumstances at the end of quarantine.
Here are the changes in the upcoming events:
- Luminary – Friday, November 20th: This year, the new winter lights in downtown and the holiday music will be the feature of Luminary. SJT works with the Interact Group, which consists of middle school and high school students, to place luminaries throughout downtown. With the wellbeing of our community in mind, luminaries will not be placed outside this year. Although St. Joe Today staff will not be onsite, they will still continue to work behind the scenes to promote shopping locally that night – and throughout the holiday season. Merchants are asked to let the staff know if they will be open extended hours, offering curbside pickup, delivery, online ordering, free gift wrapping, specials/promos.
- Small Business Saturday – Saturday, November 28th: Zapal says, “We understand the importance of this day now more than ever. There will be virtually no change to this event. We will continue to work behind the scenes to promote shopping locally this day and still create a map of participating businesses, however, the St. Joe Today team will not be onsite.” Merchants are asked to let the staff know if they will be open for extended hours, offering curbside pickup, delivery, online ordering, free gift wrapping, specials/promos.
- Window Wonderland – Friday, December 4th: Window Wonderland will carry on as scheduled. Voting for the People’s Choice will be extended until 11:59pm on December 10th in hopes that the crowds will be controlled and visitors have more time to view the windows.
- Reindog Holiday Parade – Saturday, December 5th: This event will be cancelled.
During these events, St. Joe Today strongly encourages everyone to follow the State and CDC guidelines, mask up, stay 6 feet apart and wash hands/surfaces regularly.