By Matthew Saari
Granville’s first concert of its Summer Concert Series has been canceled.
Mayor Paul Labas made the announcement Monday afternoon.
“Right now it’s just the first concert,” Labas said. “I haven’t made a decision about the rest…we’ll wait and see what happens next week.”
The decision was made, Labas said, after several complaints were filed at the local and state level.
“We have two official complaints with the state filed,” said Labas, adding two anonymous residents have contacted him directly, leaving concerned messages that the concert series is a go.
The initial reaction to the Summer Concert Series seemed mostly one of relief and anticipation, with the state having been in lockdown for several months.
“Ya some good news,” said Kathy Terrio on Facebook.
“Really wonderful,” agreed Lynn Prindle.
“Great news!!” added Patti O’Connor Siano.
However, shortly after that news broke online, the village received its first complaint, handed down from the state.
“My village is advertising a concert series in July,” read the anonymous report, entitled “Complaint referral from New York State on PAUSE Enforcement Assistance.”
From there, the grievance was forwarded to a handful of Washington County officials including administrator Chris DeBolt, county attorney Roger Wickes, sheriff Jeff Murphy and district attorney Tony Jordan, who is turn passed it on to Granville town supervisor and county representative, Matt Hicks.
When the Sentinel spoke with Hicks regarding the initial complaint, he indicated there had been no discussion at the county level with regards to enforcement action, calling the notice “more of a head’s-up.”
“I don’t see it being an issue at all,” he said.
Hicks noted that by the time the village’s concert series rolls around, the state will be in Phase IV, which allows live entertainment.
“Phase IV basically opens everything up,” he said.
Labas agreed with Hicks’ statement, noting the concert was scheduled for the day after the Phase IV start.
“If we are in level four, entertainment is allowed,” he said.
From Hicks, the notice made its way to village clerk Rick Roberts who advised extra precautions are being taken this year, with sanitizer being made available and the bathrooms will be sanitized more frequently than in years’ past.
“We’re going to take precautions,” he said. “I don’t really want to put the village in the position where we’re thumbing our nose to something.”
However, those precautions seemingly did little to assuage the concerns of some residents, with more complaints being filed.
“Everybody’s living on a lot of fear,” Labas said, likening Granville’s situation to West Mountain Ski Resort having to cancel its July 4 celebration after complaints were filed against it.
“At the end of the day a complaint(s) were filed & it was determined we were in violation of the State’s no concerts nor 50+ people/events in Phase 4,” the resort posted on Facebook.
Although Labas disagreed with his own decision, noting Washington County has three active cases of COVID-19 among a population of 60,000, he admitted he has to balance keeping his constituents happy with keeping them safe.
“This is definitely not a decision I want to make,” he said. “I’m trying to protect everybody and keep everybody happy.”
The fireworks scheduled for Thursday are still a go however, Labas said, with the first salvo scheduled to launch at dark.