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Holland's mayor: "Don't come see the tulips"

Posted at 5:13 PM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 18:41:10-04

HOLLAND, Mich. — While it may be an appealing way to spend an afternoon, Holland's mayor is asking people not to come see the tulips this year.

In his first year on the job, Holland Mayor Nathan Bocks had to make a tough call this year. Not just in canceling the 91st annual Tulip Time festival scheduled to begin in early May, but also in a video released on the city's Facebook page on Tuesday. In it, he asks the community not come by Holland and look at the thousands of tulips that are blooming right now.

"This was an incredibly difficult decision to make, but obviously the right one under the circumstances," he told Fox 17 news Tuesday.

The mayor says they're "worried about the crowds and we're worried about people not being able to engage in good social distancing." He adds, that "We really want to make sure we're able to keep the community as safe as possible. We simply don't have the infrastructure in place that we would typically have. We will get on an average 300,000 to 500,000 people into Holland over the course of the couple weeks of Tulip time, and we often have lots of porta-johns, we try to increase the number of public restrooms available for people. We simply don't have that infrastructure this year."

Fox 17 also asked the mayor about the prospect of people driving around town to look at the tulips and whether that is allowed. He pointed to the governor's "Stay Home, Stay Safe" order which discourages unnecessary travel, and adds that if people came with good intentions, they'd still be inclined to get out of their cars for pictures, which the city doesn't want.

The mayor said, his primary responsibility is to the health, welfare and safety of the 33,000 people who live in Holland, and reminded Fox 17 that "The Tulips will bloom again" in 2021.