By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of another Yukon holiday favorite.
The annual “Sounds of the Season” Christmas performance by the Oklahoma City Philharmonic won’t happen in 2020.
Because of physical distancing requirements and other virus-related safety protocols, Yukon City Manager Jim Crosby said the Philharmonic’s December concert will be canceled.
The popular yuletide performance has traditionally packed the 3,000-seat Yukon Fine Arts Center, 850 Yukon Ave.
With crowd restrictions limiting how many seats could be filled, Crosby said it wouldn’t be a fiscally sound decision to have this year’s Christmas concert.
“By the time we cut back that many, in the place we were going to have it, we’d only have a little over 300 tickets to sell,” he explained at the Oct. 21st Yukon City Council meeting.
Mayor Shelli Selby told Crosby, “I know that’s a difficult decision for you to make.”
This will be the first time in about 25 years the large orchestra won’t perform in Yukon.
The Philharmonic also had to cancel its July 4th Freedom Fest concert at Chisholm Trail Park.
Also during Tuesday night’s council meeting, Crosby said the City of Yukon will probably cancel the Yukon Community Coffee it usually hosts in December at Yukon City Hall.
Yukon’s utility department has been directly impacted by COVID-19.
Positive tests among employees recently prompted a temporary closure of Yukon City Hall, 500 W Main, at the recommendation of state health officials. The building was thoroughly sanitized.
“There are five people in there plus the meter readers,” Crosby said. “Of those five, one has already had the virus and I have three out with the virus.
“It really causes a strain, of course, when that many people are out. We’ll have to delay any (utility) cutoffs this month until next month because there’s nobody there now to get out, handle the paperwork and get it done.”
Affected employees have been quarantined and isolated from other city personnel.
“Just like everybody else, it hits certain areas harder than others,” Yukon’s city manager said. “Right now, the rest of the employees are doing quite well.
“We hope to get everybody back in the (utility) department November 3. We have to keep them out that long.”
The utility billing drive-thru, on the north end of city hall, remains open to accept payments.
Masks are required for City of Yukon employees who engage with the public. There are touchless, hand-sanitizing stations at all city buildings.
City staff members who have COVID-19 symptoms are advised to stay home.