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Events postponed, going remote thanks to COVID surge

Published: Sep. 13, 2021 at 6:43 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - Alleghany Arts & Crafts Center Curator Nancy Newhard summed it up: “Everybody’s looking at the numbers, and the numbers aren’t headed in the right direction right now.”

At the center, they’ve been careful about COVID since reopening last year.

“People can come in, and they’re very good if they don’t have a mask, we have one for them and they can pick them up,” Newhard said. “Or I’ll be masked most of the time.”

But as they worked on plans for the Art of Chocolate fundraiser, those numbers just weren’t adding up.

“There are way too many volunteers involved,” Newhard said, “way too many people coming in from the general public who will be eating, and you can’t eat with a mask on.”

“In 2019, we had our last in-person festival,” said Rebecca Logan, the executive director of Main Street Lexington, “which brings up to 400 children from not only Rockbridge County but surrounding counties as well.”

Gathering in Lexington’s Presbyterian church, kids were able to enjoy stations with various science, technology, engineering and math exhibits and experiment, but last year they went remote, handing out take-home kits.

“It’s wonderful, ‘cause it still keeps kids engaged in science,” said Logan, “but we can’t do it in person this year. It’s a little too risky.”

“We’re seeing a steady increase in cases,” said Jordan Shelton of the Central Shenandoah Health District.

Officials in the health district are watching the numbers too, but they say vaccinations are helping to limit the spread.

“While we have seen surges in cases before, this is the first time dealing with a surge with a vaccine that is effective and safe,” Shelton explained.

“And we want to take care of each other,” Newhard said, “and the best way to do it.”

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