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Sheriff's, fire crews won't attend 9/11 ceremonies

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PUNTA GORDA — Charlotte County first-responders won’t be attending local 9/11 remembrance ceremonies due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Charlotte County Public Safety Director Jason Fair and Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell issued a joint statement on Wednesday regarding the situation.

“At this time, my staff and I will continue to do everything we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19, which regrettably must include foregoing attendance at upcoming Sept. 11 remembrance events,” Prummell said.

Fair had similar thoughts.

“With the current surge of COVID-19 cases, it remains imperative that we preserve the operational readiness of our first responders by avoiding social circumstances where they may become unnecessarily exposed to the coronavirus,” Fair said.

Prummell noted in his statement that Sheriff’s Office personnel are often unable to socially distance and remain at high-risk for infection.

“Necessary precautions and CDC recommendations continue to be followed, but our internal numbers remain high,” Prummell said in the statement.

Fair said the terror attacks in New York and Washington D.C. on Sept. 11, 2001 “changed the face of our chosen profession” and that the county’s emergency response staff will “quietly honor the sacrifice of those who responded to sites of the attacks throughout our country.”

“The bond between first responders around the country is unbreakable,” Fair said.

Their statement comes a day after Charlotte County officials postponed a Sept. 11 ceremony scheduled for Saturday at the William R. Gaines Jr. Veterans Memorial Park due to concerns over COVID-19.


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