The city of Sanford has canceled its 2021 National Night Out celebration “due to the high rate of community transmission of COVID-19 and low rates of vaccination,” according to a press release from the city.

The annual event – which was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic – had been set to take place the first Tuesday in October.

“Without the ability to predict that community transmission will decrease or that vaccination rates will increase, the only way to ensure the safety of both residents and first responders is by canceling the event,” the press release states.

As of this writing, just 49 percent of Lee County residents had received a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and just 44 percent were considered “fully vaccinated,” according to the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID dashboard. By contrast, 53 percent of residents statewide had one dose, while 49 percent were fully vaccinated. Meanwhile, news cases – and deaths – continue to spike locally and across the state.

Click here for more information about the city’s National Night Out program.