ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — National Night Out is usually celebrated on the first Tuesday in August. Due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, the community event has been postponed or canceled across southwest and central Virginia.
The event started in 1970 in Philadelphia. Now, it’s nationwide and provides community-building opportunities between local residents, business, and first responders.
Tiffany Bradbury, the Community Engagement Manager for the City of Roanoke, has been involved with National Night Out events for 14 years. Usually communities would come up with an outing — such as a cookout or block party — so connections could be made between residents and first responders.
“It’s usually all about kind of building community, building partnerships, building relationships,” Bradbury said. “But unfortunately we’re not able to do it at this time this year.”
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers with the National Night Out campaign strongly recommended participating areas to celebrate National Night Out 2020 on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
Bradbury says she misses being out in the community, having fun with neighbors, and building relationships. However, she’s proud of how local law enforcement, Fire-EMS, and neighborhood services have tried to engage with the community virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We might not all be able to get together in-person,” she said, “but we can still build those relationships.”
The tentative plan is to hold the City of Roanoke’s National Night Out on Tuesday, Oct. 6.
“Our Neighborhood Services Coordinator, she is really wanting to work and have, not only Neighborhood Services and our neighborhood groups, but also law enforcement maybe kind of plan some things together,” Bradbury explained. “So we’re hoping that going to happen in October.”
Here is a list of other National Night Out events that have been canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic:
- Lynchburg’s National Night Out event has been postponed. Officials hope to hold the event in October and will closely monitoring the pandemic.
- The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office has canceled its National Night Out event. However, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office is offering online alternatives on the department’s Facebook page.
- Altavista’s National Night Out will be postponed until Tuesday, Oct. 6.
- Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office has canceled their National Night Out event for 2020.
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