Add the July Grandview Hop to the long list of events canceled or postponed due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
After consulting with Grandview Heights officials, organizers made the decision July 16 to cancel the Hop, scheduled to take place Saturday, July 25, on Grandview Avenue between First and Fifth avenues.
The first Hop of the year, planned for June 27, previously had been scrapped.
“We were hoping we could hold the Hop in July and at the beginning of the month, things were looking pretty good,” said Derek Grosso, president and CEO of Columbus Young Professionals Club.
The club presents the Hop with Destination Grandview, the city’s visitors and convention bureau.
But the number of COVID-19 cases in Franklin County began to spike as July wore on, which made holding the Hop unworkable given the continuing restrictions on social gatherings of more than 10 people, Grosso said.
“We tried to put together a social-distancing plan, but it’s just really hard to do that given the nature of an event like the Grandview Hop,” he said.
During the Hop events, usually held on the last Saturday of each month during the summer, shops on Grandview Avenue stay open late, and residents can grab food from vendors and hear live music while they shop.
Two more Hops are scheduled to be held Aug. 29 and Sept. 26, and a revamped event still may take place on those dates – but it won’t be on Grandview Avenue, Grosso said.
“We’re exploring some alternative locations and formats,” he said.
One of the missions of the Hop is to promote businesses along Grandview Avenue, many of which have held sales or hosted activities on Hop nights in previous years, he said.
Some Grandview Avenue businesses are temporarily or permanently closed, and others have moved to new locations in light of the pandemic, Grosso said – a situation that impacts the Hop’s purpose.
“We are discussing with the city whether moving the Hop to another location could still allow us to hold an event of some kind later in the summer,” Grosso said.
One potential alternate location could be Ray DeGraw Park on First Avenue at Grandview Yard, he said.
“The question then is, is it still the Grandview Hop, or does it become the Yard Hop?” Grosso said. “If it isn’t going to be held on Grandview Avenue and isn’t really the Grandview Hop as we know it, would it be better to just fold up for this year and look to come back even stronger next year?
“That’s what we’re going to have to consider.”
If the COVID-19 situation does not improve or worsens, an event of any kind may not be able to be held in August or September, he said.
Grosso said his organization will continue to monitor the situation and consult with the city.
A decision on the status of the August event likely will be made early that month, he said.
Grandview Heights Mayor Greta Kearns said the cancellation of the Hop is another disappointment in a spring and summer full of postponed events.
“The Columbus Young Professionals have done a great job since they took over coordinating the event to turn the Grandview Hop into a premier summertime activity in our community,” she said. “Derek and his team have been so good to work with.”
But it quickly became clear that it would be impossible to ensure visitors to the Hop maintained safe social distancing, she said.
“It’s an event designed for people to gather together,” Kearns said.
A block-party component was added in 2019 to the Hop, which requires a portion of Grandview Avenue to be closed to traffic.
Grandview Avenue is “a main drag” for the community and for traffic traveling north and south through Grandview, Kearns said.
Closing the street means a plan has to be put into place to provide alternate routes for emergency vehicles, she said, including fire trucks from the Grandview Fire Department, located just south of First Avenue at 1016 Grandview Ave.
Normally, closing Grandview Avenue for the Hop would not be a concern, but there is a question whether it would be proper to restrict traffic, including emergency vehicles, on one of the city’s major roadways for a revamped and reduced event, which the Hop would have been with social-distancing requirements and other COVID-related restrictions, Kearns said.
“We’re looking forward to the Hop being back next year as strong as ever,” she said.