Earlier in the year when the pandemic first hit and it was clear that the City of El Paso's budget was going to take a huge hit, City officials said they were going to cancel the wildly popular WinterFest in downtown El Paso because there just was no way they could budget the money it would take to put it on.

Fast forward to Tuesday afternoon at El Paso City Council's regular meeting and the announcement that WinterFest will be happening this year after all. It will be a four week celebration rather than six weeks like last year, there will be no parade or ice skating due to social distancing concerns, but San Jacinto Plaza will be lit up and you can wander through the park or drive around it to see the pretty lights and decorations.

City officials say they are asking people to socially distance if they do decide to head downtown but really, is any of this a good idea? Mayor Dee Margo said just two weeks ago "We don't want to see trick-or-treating, period." They said the COVID-19 numbers are on an upward trajectory that doesn't seem to be slowing down and it would be too hard to socially distance at a doorway with little ones, but has he seen what San Jacinto looks like on any given night of WinterFest?

People are going to flock to San Jacinto because we already did the past few years of WinterFest and everyone is going to want that Christmas-y feeling this year especially. Yes, WinterFest is outside. Yes, it will probably be colder, but when you combine how really sucky this year has been with the nostalgia for anything normal and doing it for the WinterFest 'gram, you have a recipe for disaster.

El Paso City officials keep telling us to stay home and stay safe. Don't put on WinterFest. Yes, we all need a merry Christmas but stick to your guns. You want people to stay home, then don't give them a reason to go out. Keep us safe and let's do WinterFest next year.

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