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COVID-19 and a quiet Mardi Gras means fewer dollars along the Gulf coast

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Mardi Gras is tomorrow, but COVID-19 is leaving the annual Fat Tuesday celebration in Alabama a lot quieter. Orange Beach cancelled tomorrow’s annual Mardi Gras parade due to covid-related concerns. A couple of organizations will still have Mardi Gras balls but will be limited by social distancing guidelines from the CDC. Tony Kennon is Mayor of Orange Beach. He said his city was the last community in the Gulf Coast region to cancel its parade.

“I’ve always said that every town needs to make a decision that’s based on what’s best for them," said Kennon. "It’s none of my business what anybody else does. Our decisions are made on what’s best for our folks in our community, both the full-time residents, property owners, visitors and businesses.”

APR has reported previously how COVID-19 has cut into the number of senior northern tourists to the Gulf coast, known as “snowbirds.” Mayor Kennon says snowbird vacationers love the parade and the cancellation isn’t be good for the local economy.

“I’m heartbroken that we’re still stuck in this hamster wheel called covid," he said. "I do know it’s a serious virus, and it’s a deadly virus for a certain segment of our population, but at some point in time we’ve gotta weigh the risks versus the rewards.”

Kennon says there wasn’t enough of a police presence this year to monitor crowds. That prompted the Mardi Gras parade to be cancelled. The plans for next year’s Mardi Gras in Orange Beach remain unchanged.

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