LONG BEACH — Due to concerns of holding events with large gatherings as COVID-19 continues to spread in Washington state, the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival on April 11 and the Long Beach Mermaid Parade set for March 29 have been postponed until this fall, according to Long Beach Mayor Jerry Phillips.

Phillips said that the community was heeding the advice of health experts, who have strongly recommended social distancing and limiting large gatherings as much as possible — even in communities that do not have a confirmed case of COVID-19. At Long Beach City Hall, the city is asking for water bills to be returned through the drop-box, rather than in-person.

“We want citizens to make sure they know we’re being proactive,” Phillips said.

Phillips hopes that the festival and parade will be able to be rescheduled later this year in the fall, but it depends on how the COVID-19 situation develops over the next several months. He added that a decision on the status of Loyalty Days 2020 will be made in the coming weeks.

Phillips is also encouraging people to occasionally check in on their neighbors via phone, especially those with elderly neighbors that are more vulnerable to COVID-19. Of the 904 people in Washington who have tested positive for the virus as of March 16, 50% are age 60 or older.

Health experts recommend taking several precautions to help reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 or any other respiratory disease. Those precautions include washing your hands regularly for at least 20 seconds, not touching your face, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze and staying home from work or school when sick.

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