In what could be a prelude to a repeat of the massive cancellation of 2020, we have our first cancellation due to Covid of the upcoming 2021 Fall Season.

Saint Alphonsus said today through a release that due to the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19 and with an abundance of caution based on where the community is with the pandemic, the Saint Alphonsus Foundation has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 Festival of Trees. 

“As a healthcare system and as caregivers, we have a responsibility to navigate the pandemic with caution and provide a safe environment for those within our hospital, as well as limiting large community gatherings that we would normally have,” said Odette Bolano, President, and CEO of Saint Alphonsus Health System.

The Foundation had hoped safety protocols combined with the vaccine rollout would lessen the pandemic’s impact, but unfortunately, the virus’ spread persists. Reducing in-person gatherings is key to fighting the growing infection rates of COVID-19. 

“Our hearts were hoping for the best, but our heads told us we have to do the right thing. The health and safety of our community is our top priority and it would be irresponsible to move forward given the data and information we have,” said Gary Raney, Chair of the Saint Alphonsus Foundation. “As a community, we all want to return to normal and enjoy events like the Festival of Trees again. Unfortunately, it’s clear it is too great of a chance that we would be putting our community at risk by holding a live event. As difficult as it was, we know we are doing the right thing.” 

This year, the new Neuro/Trauma Intensive Care Unit at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise was designated as the Festival of Trees beneficiary. The Foundation is forming a new fundraising plan for the project. 

The Event Chairs for 2020 and 2021, Rebecca and Tim Watkins, are steadfast in their support of deferring the Festival another year.

“We know many families look forward to Festival of Trees as part of their cherished holiday traditions. We understand the cancellation is disappointing, but we know it is the best decision for the safety and well-being of our community,” they said.

“On behalf of the Saint Alphonsus Foundation Board, we invite you to continue to support the chosen project, the new Neuro/Trauma Intensive Care Unit at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center. This project will help meet the needs of our growing community and provide critical neuroscience, cardiac, and trauma services not available anywhere else. Although we will not be together in person this year, we will be in spirit. Thank you for your long-standing support and our commitment as a community to work together to end the pandemic.” 

Governor Little said today in a news conference that Idahoans need to get vaccinated. Roughly 50% of Ada County residents and around 32% of Canyon County residents have been fully vaccinated against the Covid virus. The governor warned of possible school interruptions like we saw last year if more Idahoans do not take the poke.  

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