HOLLAND — The city of Holland is asking people not to visit Holland to see the city’s famous tulips — celebrated with the annual Tulip Time Festival — this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I’m making a request that I never thought I would make — and I hope I never have to make again. Please do not come to Holland to see the tulips this year,” Mayor Nathan Bocks said in a city-produced video released Tuesday morning.
“Our first responsibility is to keep our residents safe and asking visitors to stay home this year is the right but very difficult thing to do,” Bocks said in a separate news release. “We look forward to welcoming visitors back to Holland soon and certainly to enjoy the tulips in 2021.”
The city said, in part because of the cancellation of the Tulip Time Festival, it does not have the infrastructure in place this year — such as accessible public restrooms and portable toilets — to be able to handle an influx of visitors to the city.
Holland’s Tulip Time Festival draws 300,000-500,000 visitors to the city annually. Its cancellation this year due to COVID-19 is expected to have a sizable financial impact on the local business community.
Tulips are already beginning to bloom around Holland, with full blooms in some of the city’s tulip beds expected by May 1.
“I love the people of Holland even more than I love our tulips,” Bocks said. “As the mayor, my primary responsibility is to the health, safety and welfare of the people of Holland, and I take that responsibility very seriously.”
“We promise, the tulips will bloom again in Holland,” Bocks said. “And once again we will invite you into our home.”