At Winthrop’s annual snowshoe softball tournament next February, it may not be just the catchers and umpires wearing masks.
During its meeting last week, the Winthrop Town Council made it clear that the tournament won’t be allowed to happen unless all the participants agree to conform to whatever coronavirus protocols are in place at the time, including protective face masks, and that spectators will be expected to follow the same rules.
Ordinarily, the special event application that the tournament’s sponsors, in this case, the Winthrop Chamber of Commerce, have to submit to the town is a routine item on the council’s agenda. Like so many other things, COVID-19 changed that.
Tournament organizer Mike Clayton appeared remotely at the council’s Zoom platform meeting to answer questions and assure council members that participants will adhere to whatever conditions the town requires. The tournament, which takes place at the ball field at the west end of town, is scheduled for Feb. 13-14, 2021. Clayton said eight teams with about 100 players, plus accompanying family and friends, are expected for the event. “They will abide by any protocols that are in place,” Clayton told the council.
Clayton said he had submitted the special event application earlier than usual so that any coronavirus concerns could be addressed sooner.
Councilmember Bill McAdow noted that the same protocols would need to be observed in the small, covered bleacher section behind home plate.
Mayor Sally Ranzau said any approval by the town would be subject to revision if conditions change.
Councilmember Ben Nelson said he would like to see more detail about town policies and how protocols would be observed included in the tournament sponsor’s application. He suggested that Clayton and the tournament organizers review the participant conditions adopted by the Winthrop Rink and incorporate them as appropriate.
Councilmember William Kilby added that participants should be aware that the town reserves the right to enforce any provisions during the tournament.
The council agreed to table action on the application for two weeks. Clayton said he would return with a revised application.
Ranzau said the town would again welcome the tournament, adding that “we just have to have it done in a safe way.”
In other business, the council approved 1% increases for 2021 — the maximum allowed under state law without voter approval — in the town’s property taxes and the tax levied to support emergency medical services provided by Aero Methow Rescue Service.
The council also agreed to a one-year renewal of the lease for the building that the Winthrop Marshal’s Office occupies on Riverside Avenue.