POOLER, Ga. (WTOC) - It’s an annual tradition in Pooler
The tree lighting at Veterans Memorial Park is a full night of fun.
From sweets, to songs and even an appearance by ole St. Nick.
It brings in quite the crowd.
“We have usually a couple thousand people,” says Pooler Mayor Rebecca Benton.
Which any other year would be a good thing.
“But because of COVID we cannot tolerate the crowds,” Mayor Benton says.
After the city manager met with other city officials, including fire and police, they made the tough decision to cancel this year’s lighting.
“We have to be safe. It’s public safety over our entertainment, I’m sorry,” Mayor Benton says.
Of course, safety does come at a cost.
“I think it probably does have an impact especially on the smaller businesses,” said Pam Southard with the Greater Pooler Area Chamber of Commerce.
Nearby businesses missing out on customers that may not usually visit their part of town.
But even at the Chamber it’s not the businesses most upset with the decision.
“We’re hearing more from the residents of Pooler. You know, it disappointing and we need them to understand this was a decision made for their safety,” said Southard.
Even though there will be no big event the tree is still going up and there’s still plenty of Christmas to spirit in Pooler.
“I’m sure you’ll enjoy the decorations; we have some new ones coming this year,” said Mayor Benton.
“I think this is going to be a good Christmas, albeit a different Christmas in Pooler,” adds Southard.
The City of Pooler hopes to have the tree up and lit shortly after Thanksgiving next week.
They hope to bring the tree lighting ceremony back next year.