CLAYTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - With Jefferson County’s spike in COVID-19 cases, some people wonder why a huge fishing tournament - with anglers from all over - are being invited to the north country.
In response, village officials say the event will be safe.
The Bassmasters Elite tournament kicks off next Thursday. 84 fishermen arrive this weekend, ahead of the competition.
“We are excited really to have them come,” said village mayor Norma Zimmer.
“It’s these irresponsible people that are having parties that are causing the spike and it wasn’t bass fisherman. ”
But the decision to bring Bassmasters to Clayton is controversial, especially after this week’s spike of new cases, many of them in the Clayton area.
“I’m disappointed that the village of Clayton accepted the bass master tournament,” said John Heaslip, a long time resident of Clayton.
“I have concerns about the local people being sick from the people coming from high risk states, and I just feel it’s highly irresponsible that they would bring this to the village and the town and put everybody at risk.”
Heaslip isn’t alone. Our Facebook page has drawn comments from people wondering why the tournament was invited to Clayton.
But the tournament has lots of supporters as well.
“Being out on the water and social distancing far away on the water in their boats, I can’t see any kind of problem happening as long as they do what they’re supposed to do and I think it’s a good thing that’s going on,” said David Krieger, a seasonal resident of the Clayton area.
As of Saturday, a testing site will be open in the village for the fishermen. All anglers will have to get tested for Covid-19, and Clayton officials say if their results come back positive, they will have to go home.
“They will know within 15 minutes if they are positive or negative for Covid-19. so we want the community to know that if they see an angler, they’ve been tested, they are negative, and they’re not a threat to our community,” said Tricia Bannister from the Clayton Chamber of Commerce.