COVID-19 is a major party crasher and the disease and related pandemic is all but destroying one of the nicest and most solemn events the county holds once every other year.

A holiday season, nicely decorated, December morning meeting held to swear in new commissioners and other elected officials.

This year, that meeting/party is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 7. However, Guilford County Clerk to the Board Robin Keller said this week that the celebration is going to look radically different than it has in past years due to precautions for the pandemic.

In the past, the meeting, which has usually started around 10 a.m. on the first Monday in December, has pretty much filled the room – the second-floor county commissioners meeting room in the Old Guilford County Courthouse in Downtown Greensboro.

As winning candidates for county commissioner and other offices are sworn in, family members have gathered closely around the candidates and then squeezed together with friends for photos. Many people have also gathered tightly around the buffet-style breakfast and drink table set up in the foyer.

Keller said that this year it is going to be challenging to hold the event in a way that’s festive but that also maximizes participant safety.

“I have to get with [Guilford County Heath Director] Dr. Vann,” Keller said.

Keller said the county is going to implement best practices to help keep people safe.

“We are asking people for a wish list of who they would like to invite,” she said.

There may be a limit of friends and family for those who are being sworn in. However, the county is going to do things like use the balcony area to provide more space for social distancing.

Other anti-COVID-19 measures will be in effect as well.

One idea under consideration is that there could be individual portions of food in Styrofoam containers rather than a large long table where everyone rubs elbows.