HARWICH – Gov. Charlie Baker's new mandate on the size of public gatherings has forced the Harwich Town Band to cancel its planned summer concerts.
Conductor Tom Jahnke said with 35 band members and four monitors, social distancing requirements would only allow 11 audience members at Brooks Park.
“We think it best to cancel now instead of having to turn away people,” he said in an email. “I am extremely disappointed to have to make this decision, but we feel it’s better now than have issues at the concert.”
The band had planned concerts every Tuesday during the month with audience members wearing masks and spread out in the park. Unable to perform on the bandstand, musicians planned to be 10 feet apart and at least 25 feet from the audience, using the grassy area along Route 39. The concerts were supposed to begin last Tuesday, Aug. 4, but that event had to be canceled because of Tropical Storm Isaias.
Last Friday Baker issued new restrictions on gatherings after clusters — such as the July 12 party in Chatham — led to infection outbreaks. The limit on public outdoor gatherings was reduced from 100 to 50, with social distancing and masks required.
Most of the public outdoor concerts held on the Cape during the summer were canceled this year due to the pandemic, including the Harwich Town Band and the Chatham Band. Jahnke had worked with Health Director Meggan Eldredge to allow the Harwich Band to perform, but that can't happen safely under the new restrictions, he said.
“Keep your lips in shape!” Jahnke urged band members.