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Scenes from a past Northwest Raspberry Festival in Lynden show the crowds of people in close proximity that sponsors of a festival under current COVID-19 restrictions would have to find a way to deal with, and enforce against. (File photo)

Vis: COVID-related regulations could not be enforced by Chamber sponsors

LYNDEN — After meeting with representatives from Gov. Jay Inslee’s office, the Lynden Chamber of Commerce made the decision Tuesday to cancel the annual Farmers Day Parade and Raspberry Festival for 2021.

Chamber Executive Director Gary Vis said the governor’s guidelines would be impossible to meet for those public events.

“We would, in essence, be responsible for controlling some 40 access points,” Vis said.

The rules state that, in a parade setting such as Farmers Day, there can be only 600 people per quarter mile, 300 on each side. Really, it’s based on acreage, allowing 600 people per acre. Those requirements, along with ones related to masking and social distancing, would be impossible for the Chamber to enforce.

  Mayor Scott Korthuis was also in on the discussion with the governor’s office representatives.

  Because of differing opinions of people, forcing the issue would just put the Chamber “in a bad light, Vis said, when he wants these community events to be positives.

Prior to 2020, the Farmers Day Parade had not been canceled since World War II, and that was not a mandated cancellation, Vis said.

He said he and the governor’s representatives tried to find a solution, but their goals were different and a consensus could not be reached.

  “They have their goals and we have ours.”

  “When I realized I was spending more time trying to find a way around the rules than planning a good event, that’s when I knew we had to call it,” Vis said.

  “We were already behind in what we need to do,” Vis said.