After setting down strict guidelines to guard against people contracting the COID-19 variant and deciding to hold the highly-successful annual Ricky Salzillo Memorial Game Diner, organizers had second thoughts and this week announced the schedule Feb. 6
After setting down strict guidelines to guard against people contracting the COID-19 variant and deciding to hold the highly-successful annual Ricky Salzillo Memorial Game Diner, organizers had second thoughts and this week announced the schedule Feb. 6 unique fund-raising event has been cancelled.
The announcement marked the second time in as many years that the COVID-19 Pandemic has wiped out the event which back in 2020 attracted 350 people and raised upwards of $10,000 for scholarships and benefitted a number of local charities as well as Hasbro Children’s Hospital.
Recently, members of the organizing committee met to discuss ways in which they could ensure the safety of all game dinner attendees, worker and volunteers.
Thus, as Steven M. Placella, a prominent Johnston-based attorney who chairs the event, explained: “In our discussions, it became clear that during the actual dinner there would have been a continuous four-to-five hour period when an estimated 350-to-400 attendees would be eating and drinking and not wearing their provided masks.”
As he continued with a deep concern ringing in his voice, Placella wanted it known: “We’re all disappointed, but with the new variant being so easily transmitted and despite asking and requiring all people be vaccinated wear masks, etc., we felt that we would be putting everyone there at risk so we decided it was best to cancel the dinner for this year.”
The long-serving chairman, who shares annual duties with Vincent LaFazia, went on: “Additionally, the collateral damage would be the close contacts family members and children of any attendee, worker or volunteer who contracted COVID-19 as a result of this event.”
Placella then further explained the all-volunteer committee’s thinking saying: “Notwithstanding, the fact that these collateral people either could or would also contract and become ill with COVID-19, their quarantine period – even if not infected – would keep these people out of work and school for a period of time.”
So, as Placella, LaFazia and other committee members who were closely connected with the late Salzillo who was tragically killed in an automobile accident back in 1976, wrote in a prepared announced: “We started this event many years ago to honor a great guy who passed away much too soon and to do some positive things for our community. Therefore, it would be truly sad and ironic if just one person contracted COVDID-19 and died as a result of this event.”
To which each and every committee member who attended the meeting each sternly stated: “It was simply not worth the risk going forward so we will see you next year!”
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