BALTIMORE — Christmas is two days away.
As they've done for nearly half-a-century, residents from all across Maryland flock to the Miracle on 34th Street lights display in North Baltimore's Hampden neighborhood.
But on Tuesday the area's councilwoman, Odette Ramos, said everyone should sit the tradition out this year to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
“Today, we are asking you to skip the celebration this year to protect yourselves and others from COVID-19.”
Over the last few days Ramos claims the landmark light display has drawn large crowds, with multiple people going maskless.
Normally visitors are able to drive-thru and see the lights, however road blocks have recently been put up allowing only foot traffic.
“We have witnessed people not wearing masks when they enter the area," said Ramos. "Originally, we wanted to keep the street open for traffic, but too many people are here and that causes a concern for pedestrians. Please celebrate the holidays at home.”
The President of the Hampden Community Council stopped short of telling residents to stay home.
“The Mayor’s Christmas Parade was canceled to keep everyone safe. We would like to make sure spectators that come to the Miracle on 34th Street are also keeping their distance and wearing masks,” said Eli Lopatin, President of the Hampden Community Council.
Meanwhile Jack Boyson, President of the neighboring Wyman Park Community Association, is telling members of his community to steer clear and wear a mask if they do visit 34th Street.
“Neighbors are concerned about the increasing crowds. We have told our residents to stay away. Please be careful and wear your masks."
Ramos's comments echo that of Baltimore City Health Commissioner Letitia Dzirasa and Mayor Brandon Scott, who for weeks have been telling residents to stay inside.
As of Tuesday Baltimore City reported 29,865 COVID-19 cases, including 650 deaths.