PETOSKEY — The Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce is canceling the cocktail and appetizer portion of next week’s Breakfast for Champions event amid COVID-19 concerns.
The event, which this year was scheduled as an evening engagement, will still proceed as otherwise planned, starting 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Great Lakes Center for the Arts. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.
The chamber announced the scheduling change at the start of this week, citing an escalating number of positive COVID-19 cases both statewide and locally. Chamber representatives are asking in-person event attendees to wear masks.
“We understand the importance in having a safe environment for all attendees of this annual event, and we know wearing masks provides additional protection,” said Nikki Devitt, chamber president, in a press release Monday.
Attendees who pre-registered for the cocktail hour portion of the evening will receive an envelope with offers from local businesses who were originally to cater the event, including Parkside Deli, Lost Village Pierogi, Maple + Batter, Stafford's Hospitality, Tillie's Tafel and the Wineguys Restaurant Group, according to the chamber.
Breakfast for Champions, which is in its 30th year, honors Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce Member businesses in the community. Typically, around 500 people attend, according to the chamber.
In recent years, it has occurred at the Odawa Casino.
The awards ceremony was already slated for changes this year. Chamber executives are branding it “Breakfast for Champions After Dark” after switching from the traditional morning scheduling. The now-canceled cocktail hour would have been breakfast-themed and was set to begin at 6 p.m.
“It is another new way of holding this annual event,” said Emily Stuchell, chamber events and program coordinator, in a press release. “We continue to want to celebrate amazing businesses and individuals that make Petoskey a great community.”
Last year, the event occurred entirely virtually.
The chamber still provided attendees with that option this year, with the intention of keeping the event at “limited attendance.”
Among the honors presented at the event are the Chairman’s Award, the Athena Award, the Thriving Petoskey Award, the Service Excellence Award, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Architectural Awards, and Ambassador of the Year Award.
A Petoskey Strong award was added to the roster last year, recognizing “those that went above and beyond to help support, sustain or provide safety to the community as a whole during the challenging times of a pandemic.” The Health Department of Northwest Michigan received that honor.
According to the health department, there were 197 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the department's service area, which includes Antrim, Charlevoix, Emmet and Otsego counties, from Friday, Nov. 26, through Monday, Nov. 29.
This article originally appeared on The Petoskey News-Review: Chamber cancels cocktail hour for 'After Dark' Petoskey Breakfast for Champions