Thursday, June 24, 2021


Williams taking cautious approach to outdoor events

Last week, the Williams City Council agreed that it is too soon to sanction large outdoor gatherings, citing an uncertain future with the new California COVID-19 variant making its way through the state.

The California variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, known as B.1.427/B.1.429, is likely more infectious and could potentially cause more severe disease than the initial novel coronavirus strain, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Researchers estimate that by the end of the month, 90 percent of positive COVID-19 cases in California could be the new variant.

As of Wednesday, Colusa County had 14 cases of COVID-19 in isolation, but no hospitalizations. A total of 16 deaths have been attributed to the disease.

The City Council on March 17 voted against allowing the annual Williams Easter Egg Hunt at Valley Vista Park to move forward, citing Colusa County was only in the “red tier” on the state’s blueprint for reopening.

“We hate to tell kids they can’t go Easter egg hunting, especially when we are potentially so close to getting into the next tier and getting more open, but this event could spread the virus even worse,” said City Administrator Frank Kennedy.

With Williams parks tentatively closed until July 1, the Williams Community Church decided to move the Williams High School Football field’s annual event, beginning at 10 AM on Saturday.

The Colusa Lions Club also plans to move forward with their egg hunt at the Colusa County Fairgrounds at 9 AM on Saturday, as is the Colusa Assembly of God Church, at 11 AM the same day.

Williams officials have set a tentative date for reopening city facilities, including parks, on July 1, and will decide at their April meeting on Pioneer Day’s fate on June 5.

Pat Ash, a co-founder of Citizens for a Better Williams, said planning the day’s festivities is underway but said Colusa County must maintain the Orange Tier (or above) before Williams officials would allow any park activities.

“It does take quite a bit of planning, so we have the go-ahead from the city,” Ash said. “But it will depend on our (COVID-19) numbers and if we continue to stay low.”

CBW will host the annual Pioneer Day Parade, and Karen’s House will be in charge of the vendor in the park, Ash said.

If the City Council holds the July 1 date to reopen city parks, it may be possible that Pioneer Day 2021 is just a parade.

“It’s a pretty much wait and see,” Ash said.

Mayor Roberto Mendoza said while COVID-19 rates are dropping, he remains concerned about large gatherings in the city, especially if people don’t continue to follow the state’s guidance to reduce the virus’ spread.

“I’ve been around Colusa County, and it seems like someone told them, ‘you don’t have to wear a mask anymore; everything’s fine,” Mendoza said.

Mayor Pro Tem Santos Jauregui also agreed that allowing events, such as the Easter Egg hunt, to be held in a Williams park – when city parks are still closed – would be the city breaking its own rules.

Officials said they have kept the parks closed since the outbreak of COVID-19 in March of 2020 to prevent large soccer gatherings, which they believe could be “super spreader” events.

The city anticipates all facilities will be fully open by July 1, including the city pool, which is currently undergoing repairs, officials said.

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