Ho, ho, hold your horses

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St. Nick returns to Marysville Santa House – by appointment
The City of Marysville is moving forward with plans to share “holiday magic” though the celebration will look different.
“We are trying our best to create some type of normalcy for children who wish to visit Santa during this pandemic,” Marysville City Manager Terry Emery told city council Monday. “Our goal is to offer families the option to visit Santa in a safe manner.”
Emery said Santa Claus will be at Partners Park from 5-7 p.m. on “select Thursdays” and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays in December.
“Pre-registration is required,” Emery said.
The city administrator explained that families will be able to log onto the city website and schedule a time to see the city’s jolly elf. Emery said families are being asked to only register for one appointment. Participants will be asked to wait in their car until their assigned time and to sanitize or wash their hands before seeing Santa. Additionally, everyone seeing Santa will need to wear a face covering and maintain a distance.
“If you are experiencing any cold, flu or COVID-like symptoms we ask that you stay at home,” Emery said. “Sign-ups can be changed or canceled pending any changes made from the Ohio Department of Health. 
Amanda Morris, recreation and events manager for the city, said the small Santa house, “is not going to even be set up.” Instead, she said the meetings will occur inside the larger building that has been used as a staging and warming area in years past.
She said the building will be “kept very bare and simple inside” to allow participants to space out as best as they can.
She said the city will have masks available and hand sanitizer stations for the event as well as for the planned Uptown Christmas Walk on Monday. Participating Uptown businesses will have special extended hours. The MORA will also be active that evening from 6-10 p.m.
The annual Christmas Tree lighting will be held at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 1 and will be live-streamed on the city’s Facebook page.
The iceless skating rink will be at Partners Park from Dec. 12 through Jan. 3. Participants will need to schedule a time for that as well.
Due to state regulations, there will not be a Christmas parade this year.
Emery stressed that, “if people are safe and feel comfortable, we want people to still be able to experience a holiday season, even with some safety precautions.”
He added that, “as important as anything else in this timer is mental health.”
Emery said the city is doing everything it can to provide a normal holiday experience.
“We are taking this all into account and we are trying to make it work,” Emery said. “We will make it work.”
At the same time, Fire Chief Jay Riley also asked residents to take precautions during the holiday season.
“It is literally life and death,” Riley said. “A lot of people just is not a good idea.”
He said the fire department is “struggling to meet the demand” for transportation of people exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
He said between those medic runs and cleaning the ambulance, “we are non-stop, all day.”
He said the community is still in the middle of the crisis.
“We are not done yet,” Riley said. “2020 is still kicking us in the butt. We are still fighting through this.”
Council member Donald Boerger said he wants city staff members to use precaution.
“I really don’t want to see a huge outbreak,” Boerger said about city workers.
He said the city needs to do “our due diligence.” He said his big concern is, “having enough staff to keep our city afloat.”
Riley confirmed that a fire crew member was sent home Monday with suspected COVID symptoms.



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