Ballybofey and Stranorlar Chamber of Commerce has announced that this weekend’s Christmas Launch event has been cancelled.
The switch-on was due to take place on Sunday and coincide with the McElhinneys Christmas window unveiling.
But families are being asked to stay at home in the interest of community safety.
A statement from the local Chamber expressed their disappointment in having to make the difficult decision: “We know that everyone was really looking forward to the event, as were we, but the rise in Covid numbers and the potential impact of the event in spreading the virus among the community was considered too high at such a critical time in the run up to Christmas.
“While the event is outdoors, we cannot predict how the virus may spread among attendees who will be in a confined area facing a small stage. We also needed to consider the many people, including staff and entertainers, who work hard on the day to make the event happen.
“The most important focus for us this Christmas is that our community stays safe and that businesses who rely on face-to-face footfall can remain open and trading as best as they can in these difficult circumstances. We want our community to enjoy Christmas shopping and meeting their friends and families in social and business settings around the towns.”
“We also took into consideration the impact of the rise on the infection rates on hospital staff and carers who live and work in our community. As the Covid numbers rise and hospitalisations increase, the impact on our healthcare professionals, care home staff, home helps and many other carers in our community, increases as well. It’s important that we consider them when making our plans.”
McElhinneys has also asked the public not to attend on Sunday evening. The store’s Christmas window will be available for people to view in their own time from late Sunday morning.
The Chamber said it is hopeful that a smaller event can be held for children in the weeks to come:
“We will keep an eye on how the virus numbers perform over the coming weeks. If possible, we will plan an afternoon event of music and fun for the children in the McElhinney’s car park nearer Christmas.”