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ANDY ROBERTS/Beacon File Photo

An old newspaper headline and an all-area coach of the year award for former Whitehall football coach Bruce Baxter are displayed at 2019’s Whitehall Sports Hall of Fame banquet. The 2020 banquet was canceled this week because of COVID-19 concerns.

The Whitehall Sports Hall of Fame announced Wednesday morning, July 15, that its annual banquet, scheduled for Nov. 7, will be canceled. Hall of Fame president James Morningstar made the announcement in a Facebook post to multiple locally-focused group pages.

“The officers and committee are committed to bringing back the banquet in 2021,” Morningstar said in the post. “The goal is to try to make it even better than the previous years.”

Morningstar said there were two primary reasons the decision was made at this early date. First, of course, was the concern for the health and safety of those in attendance. The Hall of Fame committee, and often inductees, partially consist of those who are in their 50s or older, and those age groups have shown to be at higher risk of health problems related to COVID-19. The other reason was that attendees often travel great distances to attend the banquet, and the Hall of Fame did not want to plan an event that could potentially have to be canceled with short notice and wreck travel plans.

“Without knowing what the future holds, the probability of factors outside of our control could require us to cancel the banquet at the last minute and this is something we would like to avoid,” Morningstar said in the post.