Raleigh has canceled all special events through the end of the year in an effort to limit large gatherings downtown amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Canceled events include First Night, the annual Christmas tree lighting, and the downtown Food Truck Rodeo, 

The decision does not affect programs put on by Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources or performances at the Raleigh Convention Center and Performing Arts Complex. 

Events had already been canceled through October 31 and the governor’s restriction on mass gatherings is in place through September 11. 

Derrick Remer, who directs the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Special Events, said the decision to cancel events early gives organizers the opportunity to conserve their resources. 

As of this week, Wake County has had nearly 13,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 185 people have died from the virus out of 2,396 death statewide. 

Events such as block parties with fewer than 25 people can apply for a permit from the city to be held. 

Councilmember David Knight wondered if some of the events canceled could be held virtually, such as the Christmas tree lighting.

Remer said many of those events will be moving online.

“What this is really focusing on is limiting mass gatherings in downtown and other areas of the city,” Remer said. “We just want to reduce that community spread.” 

The Raleigh City Council will also move all of its meetings online for the rest of the year due to the ongoing pandemic. Board and Commission meetings will also be held virtually.

Follow Raleigh News Editor Leigh Tauss on Twitter or send an email to ltauss@indyweek.com

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