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Canceling big sports events together was the right call

It’s sad but good that Lake Placid’s big sports events were canceled for this summer: two Ironman triathlons, the Can-Am Rugby Tournament, the Lake Placid Summit lacrosse tournament (although it may salvage part of the tourney in September) and the Lake Placid Marathon and Half.

These cancellations will hurt our local businesses and economy, but bringing people from all over the world these huge, close-contact sports competitions would not be wise right now. We do not believe they could be done safely.

So far our region has been able to accommodate tourists and second-home owners, slowly reopen businesses and not increase COVID-19 cases. That’s a huge achievement, considering the spikes some other states are seeing as they reopen. New York state, North Country regional and local government agencies deserve a lot of credit for managing that ordeal — as do all the local people who cooperated in the difficulties of canceling events, wearing masks and social distancing.

Yet one invitational super-spreader event could lead to a big spike, increasing local COVID-19 cases and deaths higher than ever — and wiping out the safety we have worked months to earn.

The benefits of having these big athletic events are undoubtedly important, but they are not worth the risk. It’s better to tough it out to get through the year without these events.

It’s good that these events’ organizers coordinated with each other and local government and tourism leaders to make a decision together. That eliminates the difficulty of having people say, “If that is allowed, why not this?” and of different local parties to operate in opposition. We are very grateful they were so reasonable, rational and community-focused.