Grundy, Va. officials say health department blocking Shop with a Cop fundraiser due to COVID-19 concerns

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GRUNDY, Va. (WJHL) – The Virginia Department of Health has forced the cancellation of the largest fundraiser for Shop with a Cop in Buchanan County.

According to a post on the Grundy Haunted House, the event has been canceled “Due to circumstances out of our control and threats of being charged by the health department.”

City manager Dennis Ramey told News Channel 11 that the haunted house is the largest fundraiser for the Grundy Police Department’s “Shop with a Cop.”

The police department organizes and puts the event on every October with help from volunteers that include the Buchanan County deputies and Virginia State Police officers.

According to the Facebook post, the city received a letter from VDH on September 28, stating that health officials “previously discussed options to lower the transmission risk of COVID-19 for this Halloween event such as changing the haunted house to an outdoor haunted forest or trail.”

The letter also stated that indoor haunted houses, even if using masks, physical distancing and other measures “pose the highest risk of the options for celebrating Halloween for transmission  of COVID 19 to residents of our community….”

“Be aware that VDH is obligated to pursue enforcement actions including willful violations of Executive Orders 63 and 67, which constitute Class 1 criminal misdemeanor charges, as well as civil injunctive relief in the jurisdictional Circuit Court should your proposed event fail to fully comply,” the letter continues.

According to Ramey, this is particularly difficult of the “Shop with a Cop” fundraising efforts. He said the pandemic had also forced the cancellation of BINGO fundraisers for the event. He said organizers are “heartbroken” about how the pandemic is affecting this Christmas tradition.

Ramey told News Channel 11 that the officers try to raise $10,000 each year to give 100 children $100 to shop with for Christmas gifts.

Ramey said community members have organized a GoFundMe in an attempt to help law enforcement in Buchanan County meet the goal.

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