Seward, ‘on the precipice’ of a major COVID-19 outbreak, cancels July 4 celebration

Amid coronavirus cases in the picturesque city of Resurrection Bay, officials at the Seward Chamber of Commerce on Monday canceled the events of July 4 next weekend.

The cancellation includes fireworks and vendors in addition to the already canceled Mount Marathon Race and parade. The events annually attract thousands of visitors from much of the state, tripling Seward’s population of 2,750 year-round.

As of Monday, 18 Seward residents had tested positive for COVID-19, including eight new ones on Sunday, after an outbreak started there late last week, according to the Department of Health and Services COVID-19 control panel Alaska Social. A further 3 cases were reported in non-residents there, including two new cases on Sunday.

The city last week advised anyone who visited the Seward Alehouse and Yukon Bar earlier in the week that they should be tested for the virus. A Seward Alehouse employee tested positive for COVID-19 and the restaurant posted that it would close for cleaning and to monitor employee health. Hundreds of tests were conducted over the weekend.

Many downtown restaurants and bars closed Monday and numerous people were waiting to get tested, according to Kat Sorensen, a camera spokeswoman.

Sorensen said he hoped no one was planning any kind of alternative activities to make up for the loss of the annual holidays.

“We are on the precipice of our COVID outbreak,” he said Monday.

The Seward Chamber of Commerce had originally hoped to proceed with the festive events using mitigation measures such as social distancing, face covers given to participants, hand sanitizing stations, and street closings to give people more room to spread out.

But the chamber, in collaboration with the city of Seward, state and local health care providers, and the board and chamber members decided to cancel due to the recent and dramatic increase in COVID-19 cases there, according to a statement. issued on Monday.

“We are seeing cases in companies and in different sectors,” said Sorensen. “At this point, if our center is closed due to coronavirus concerns, there is no reason to invite visitors to our city.”

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