By LEE J. KAHRS
BRANDON — The Brandon Town Hall has canceled its 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic despite an attempt to reschedule the summer line up for September.
Program Director Dennis Marden said the Friends of the Brandon Town Hall Board of Directors met on July 19 and made the difficult decision.
He said the recent nationwide surge in new coronavirus cases after restrictions on public gatherings were eased led the board to its decision.
“The pandemic is not going in the right direction,” Marden said, “so we decided to cancel the season.”
He also said because hall events are staffed by volunteers, many of who are older or are vulnerable to health risks, instituting pandemic social distancing and cleaning requirements would add significant time to their shifts.
“Now we’re adding cleaning and sanitizing and social distancing measures, and that will add over an hour to their shifts,” Marden said. “We assessed the risks with the board and determined that we just don’t have staff to do it safely for the volunteers, the performers and the audience members. It doesn’t make sense.”
All of the performers scheduled to appear this season have been contacted and rescheduled.
“All of the performers agreed with our decision and rescheduled for next season,” he said. “It was amazing how many of them said, ‘You’re doing the right thing.’”
The Brandon Recreation Department will still be using the hall for ping pong and the Italian film series will still go on as planned.
Marden said, ultimately, he is just grateful that Vermont in general and Brandon specifically is taking the pandemic seriously.
“I’m so glad I live in Brandon,” he said. “I’d say 90% of people are social distancing. I’m just glad people for the most part seem to understand how serious this is. On the side of caution, it’s the right thing to do.”