The Groundhog Day Committee, Real Woodstock and The Woodstock Area of Chamber of Commerce and Industry are pleased to once again bring the fun of the annual Groundhog Days celebration to Woodstock. We know these are difficult times and there are many concerns about health and safety. Our teams are working hard to reduce the impact of the coronavirus on our communities while preparing for the upcoming festivities. The Groundhog Days Committee, Real Woodstock and Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry continue to monitor and follow state and county health guidelines to ensure the safety of event activities.
Many of the traditional Groundhog Days Festival activities, such as the official breakfast, movies, dinner dance, and chili cook off have been cancelled for 2021 because we were unable to host those events safety in compliance with the Restore Illinois and CDC COVID-19 mitigation guidelines.
This years scaled back version of the Groundhog Days Festival will still include festival favorites like the prognostication, which is presented outdoors in the Park on the Square, the Bags Tournament, held outdoors at Ortmann’s Red Iron Tavern and the Toast to World Peace, held on the outdoor patio at the Public House of Woodstock. The committee has assurances these outdoor events that can be conducted safely and in compliance with current guidelines. Masks and social distancing are required for all attendees at these events and every effort will be made by staff and/or volunteers to stringently enforce these guidelines.
As we get closer to the event we will monitor and adjust protocols, as needed, based on the most recent COVID-19 data.
The following procedures have been set in place to create a safe environment for attendees of the 2021 Groundhog Days Festival.
- Online streaming of the prognostication will be offered this year to allow many festival goers to stay home and watch the celebration. With the event on a Tuesday morning, in person crowds are historically small to begin with.
- Staff and volunteers have been made aware of current guidelines that are to be adhered to.
- Hand sanitation is available in multiple businesses located around the Square.
- Attendees, employees and volunteers will be instructed to wear face coverings, as appropriate, per Restore Illinois and CDC guidelines.
- Festival attendees will be required to wear face coverings at all times when not eating or drinking.
- Employees and volunteers will be provided with personal protective equipment as per Restore Illinois and CDC guidelines.
- Festival attendees, volunteers and employees who have been diagnosed or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 are being asked not to attend the event or be on premises during the events.
- Announcements will be made during prognostication to remind festival goers to social distance and adhere to masking requirements in accordance with Restore Illinois and CDC guidelines.
- Employees and volunteers will monitor guests to enforce social distancing and masks.
- Local businesses and their employees are required to wear facial coverings the entire time of the event in compliance with the Restore Illinois and CDC guidelines that are in place.
- Employees are required to clean and sanitize all contact surfaces at their venue in between use during the event.
- Indoor events have been cancelled or modified to avoid crowds and comply with current Restore Illinois and CDC guidelines.
- Each entertainment venue will have a specified capacity limitation that they will enforce.
- Seating areas are configured to promote social distancing.
- Anywhere there is the potential for people to stand in a line, queuing instructions (i.e. signage) and devices shall be used to instruct patrons to maintain safe distances from one another.
- Food service areas will adhere to the guidelines set forth by the CDC for restaurants and dining services.
HOW OUTDOOR VENUES DIFFER FROM OTHER VENUES
Unlike other venues for large gatherings, such as sports arenas or stadiums, the Park on the Square is differentiable along the following lines:
- The open grounds and multiple entrances allow for appropriate social distancing.
- The prognostication is a short ceremony held outdoors.
- Exposure time between non-same-household sheltering family members is limited and is completely controllable by the attendees themselves.
- Based on prior events, a large percentage of festival attendees are families who live in the same home and thus do not need to be physically distanced.
- Festival attendees move freely through the outdoor events as opposed to sitting in a single location for an extended period of time.