Organizers of the annual Monroe County National Night Out have canceled this year’s event due to COVID-19.
Tomah Health community health educator Julie Anderson MSN, RN, said the decision to cancel the planned Aug. 4 event was a group decision which included recommendations from the Monroe County Health Department.
“The Monroe County Health Department continues to recommend social distancing, handwashing, wearing masks and sanitizing supplies between uses until we have a vaccine for the virus,” Anderson said. “It would be difficult to encourage social distancing and wearing of masks at an event as large as National Night Out so we made the decision to cancel it because we felt we could not meet recommendations to maintain the health and safety of the public, which is really the main purpose of this event.”
Tomah Police Chief Mark Nicholson agreed with the decision. “It’s a difficult decision but I think the decision to cancel the event this year is appropriate,” Nicholson said. “As Public Safety and Health Care organizations we should be encouraging everyone to adhere to the guidelines as established by our local health departments. It will be difficult at best to plan for and then reinforce these guidelines during the event.”
The Tomah Health Community Outreach Dept. has been coordinating the event the last 17 years in Tomah’s Winnebago Park.
Last year more than 900 people attended the public safety education night which included hands on displays and live safety demonstrations. The event was also recognized by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) for neighborhood participation and law enforcement involvement.
Anderson recognized the commitment and support from area businesses, area emergency medical services and the public for being so active in the event over the years.
“We look forward to next year’s National Night Out and working with our community partners to hold a great health and safety event,” Anderson added. “We encourage our community to stay safe, practice good social distancing and hand hygiene and don’t forget about using bike helmets, well-fitted child safety seats and safe driving during the summer”.