FERNANDINA BEACH, Fla. – Fernandina Beach is pulling the plug on Christmas and New Year’s community celebrations in 2020 due to COVID-19.
Tuesday night, city commissioners voted 4-1 in favor of canceling all of the city’s special events through the end of the year. Those events include the Christmas parade, the New Year’s Eve fireworks and the popular New Years Eve Shrimp Drop.
The decision comes after the commission’s vote at its previous meeting to cancel the city’s Christmas tree lighting.
Gabriel Vhabae owns Amelia Island Clothing & Gifts and has lived in the area for 15 years.
“Not having those people here is going to hurt our business. Especially this year with all this -- the virus,” he said.
Megan Georgeo, the general manager at Amelia Island Brewing Co., said the news is difficult to hear.
“We were hoping for that foot traffic, being right here in Downtown Fernandina,” she said. “As much as we respect every decision that the city makes with the safety, we want people to be safe, it still does hurt us, of course.”
The shops downtown will still be decorated and the traditional Dickens on Centre festival will go on -- with the lighting of buildings and trees, but no ceremony in 2020.