Operation Red Nose, a volunteer-led service that offers a safe ride home during the holiday season, has been cancelled for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We decided as a club that were not prepared to do operation red nose this year with the COVID-19 situation,” said Fort Saskatchewan Rotary Club representative Stew Hennig.
“I don’t think anyone would be able to get insurance or be comfortable taking on anyone else’s vehicle with COVID-19,” he explained.
The national Operation Red Nose organization announced on Oct. 7 that they would be cancelling operations for the 2020 holiday season.
“The safety of our volunteers, clients, and local host organizations has always been one of our top priorities,” said Jean-Philippe Giroux, Executive Director for Operation Red Nose.
“The decision was made after long and careful consideration, and not without emotion. We want to thank all of our volunteers and local partners who keep supporting their community year after year. We look forward to working with you again next year,” Giroux continued.
Giroux noted that Operation Red Nose will “continue to promote its road safety message and remind everyone to always plan for a safe way to get home by calling a friend, a relative, a cab, by designating a sober driver, or by staying overnight.”
In Fort Saskatchewan, Operation Red Nose serves as one of the main fundraisers to support local youth organizations.
Last year, the Fort Saskatchewan team provided rides for 99 vehicles and 215 drivers and passengers. Volunteers drove a total of 1933 km. Donations of over $20,000 were received from various community businesses and partners.
“We are looking at alternative ways to raise money for youth organizations in the Fort. We will be hosting an alternative event to be announced soon,” Hennig explained.
“A lot of organizations and groups depend on the service groups in Fort Saskatchewan to help them out and we certainly don’t want to write them off, so we’re doing whatever we can to raise funds,” he continued.
Hennig noted that the Rotary Club and Red Nose Operation hope to be fully functioning again next year, as long as it is safe to do so.
“We’re looking forward, if all is fair and equal we’d like to do Operation Red Nose again next year, but only time will tell,” he said.