The Panorama committee in Simcoe is taking it one day at a time now that southern Ontario has entered a month-long lockdown due to COVID-19.
The Ford government’s rules include a prohibition on “drive-through” events.
However, Panorama president Roger Cruickshank Jr. said Monday this is somewhat of a grey zone because many types of drive-through events have evolved since the global pandemic was declared in March.
“We haven’t heard back,” Cruickshank said. “It’s in the county’s hands. We do need something to liven up the community.”
Some drive-through events have featured live music where people are encouraged to roll down their windows and enjoy the entertainment. This, in turn, encourages mixing in parking lots and gathering in groups which may be contrary to public health orders.
For this year’s Panorama, Cruickshank said “drive-through” means just that: Stay in your car, keep the windows up and stay warm, and drive through the streets surrounding Wellington Park after sunset to get the full effect of the trees and their Christmas lights.
Cruickshank noted that drive-through art events and the like have gone dark in the Greater Toronto Area since the lockdown began 12:01 a.m. Boxing Day. But he also noted that a similar event to Panorama in Niagara Falls was open this weekend, as was the drive-through in Simcoe.
He said it makes sense the GTA would take a harder line given the severity of their pandemic case count. As it stands, Cruickshank says it’s business as usual but that Panorama will respond if asked to.
“If the government says, ‘That’s it, pull the plug,’ that’s what we do,” he said.
Due to reservations at the county level this fall, the Panorama committee cancelled the major exhibits that normally occupy Wellington Park at this time of year.
Instead, trees throughout the park system have been decorated with lights. Panorama, which was established in 1958, normally goes dark for the season a few days after Jan. 1.