Winter Walk 2020 wasn’t going to be the same as the Winter Walks of yesteryear. We knew that going in. COVID-19 saw to it, but Hudson Hall organizers found a way to salvage something good from the wreckage.
This year, Hudson’s Winter Walk will be spread out across 20 days from Dec. 5 to Dec. 24 instead of one night. Twenty for 2020, you might say.
Winter Walk is designed for the COVID era to avoid any gatherings. Streets will remain open to prevent mass gatherings.
For a typical Winter Walk, the entire length of Warren Street is closed from 5-8 p.m. on the first Saturday in December and performers use storefront windows and Warren Street as their stages. Shops stay open late.
Winter Walk normally draws 15,000 to more than 20,000 people, depending on the weather. It’s the city’s busiest night and wholly unique to Hudson.
The flipside? Extending Winter Walk for 20 days is a good idea, but the mix of a fireworks show and late-night shops staying open multiplies potential for COVID-19 to spread.
The potential crowds on the streets and inside local establishments are raising the concern of local health officials.
Shops normally serve refreshments at Winter Walk, which adds another factor. Health officials also fear Hudson Hall is underestimating the attendance.
Holding a long-form Winter Walk doesn’t preclude enforcement of common-sense rules such as limiting the time audiences can gather for performances.
At the very least, Winter Walkers should have to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing at all times for their safety and the protection of others.
Winter Walk organizers are going where few other organizers have gone this year, when virtually every major event was canceled. We wish Hudson Hall the best of luck in succeeding in bringing a terrible 2020 to a bright finish.