HARRIMAN, Tenn. — City leaders in Harriman said they want to host a Halloween event for families, but doctors fear the big event they have planned isn't safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The City of Harriman's third annual 'Trunk or Treat' is something a lot of people are looking forward to, especially after two successful years.
"It's a great event for the City of Harriman I mean it has a really good turn out and everything," said Harriman City Councilman Kenyon Mee.
However, Mee said he thinks that the turnout they saw may make hosting 'Trunk or Treat' a bad idea this year. He said about 3,000 people came to the event in 2019.
"I just feel as city officials we shouldn't entice people by saying hey we can have an event this size," said Mee.
It's for that reason other cities have canceled similar events.
That's also why doctors at three medical practices in Harriman are urging the city to cancel 'Trunk or Treat.'
Doctors from Roane County Family Practice, Roane Pulmonary Practice, and Miriam B. Tedder, M.D.'s practice wrote and signed letters asking the city to consider canceling the event.
Roane County Family Practice also released the following statement to 10News:
“In light of an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in our region, we have sent our concerns about the Trunk or Treat event to Harriman City Council. Our goals are to keep our community healthy and safe, and to help people understand the seriousness of coronavirus. We urge everyone to follow the five core principles of washing hands frequently, wearing masks, social distancing, cleaning frequently touched surfaces often and staying home when you are sick. In addition, this year it is especially important to get a flu shot to protect yourself and your family.“
There are 157 active COVID-19 cases in Roane County as of October 16, 2020.
"I hope it doesn't turn into a super spreader event but I mean the potential's there," said Mee.
Harriman Mayor Wayne Best said he understands the concerns but thinks people need something like this to look forward to, especially the kids.
He said the event will be held outdoors and have two entrances, temperature checks, mask use and candy will be distributed via PVC pipe slides to help maintain social distancing.
"At the end of the day it's every family's choice, you know, in protecting their health," said Mee.
Best said he's added this discussion item to the city council's agenda for their meeting next week.
He said they'll continue to monitor case count, and if it starts to rise they may switch to a drive-thru trick-or-treating event.
The event is set for October 29 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. in downtown Harriman.