Ninety-degree days, open gates at City pools, concerts in Dr. Pepper Park at The Bridges, and the first-ever Carilion Clinic’s IRONMAN 70.3 Virginia’s Blue Ridge triathlon—must be summer in Roanoke!
Not Your Normal Summer
Thankfully, this summer is shaping up to look a lot more like summers of the past with festivals, concerts, races, etc. But we must also remember it is still not like any summer of the past. COVID remains a threat in our community. As of the preparation of this post, vaccine rates hovered somewhere just above 55% for adults in Roanoke and less than 40% for the entire population of Roanoke—good, but not good enough. Most public health officials agree, we need to have something like at least 80% of our population vaccinated to truly rid our community of COVID and its impacts. Let’s keep encouraging folks to get vaccinated. The normalcy of our future depends upon it!
Some Are Still Struggling
Also, many of our hotels and restaurants (and those who typically work there) continue to struggle—crowds at events are still light, conferences will not be returning to Hotel Roanoke and Conference Center in great number for some time still, and many remain cautious about venturing out into gatherings and groups of people. Also, many of our arts and cultural institutions continue to struggle, with venues still open to limited capacities, shortened seasons, or awaiting the return of touring acts and entertainers.
Better Than Last Year
Thankfully, many can safely visit the pool, take that family vacation, and dine in one of our restaurants. More events are on their way and more people are getting out into downtown, Grandin Village, South Roanoke, Williamson Road, etc. Life is returning to the City—summer is here!
Let’s do all we can to make it a safe and great summer, and take all the steps necessary so we can enjoy the normal activities of the fall ahead. Can anyone say football?!
-- Bob Cowell