GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids’ Fourth of July fireworks show is the latest event that’s been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Riverbank Events and Media announced the cancellation Wednesday morning, citing the inability to keep all spectators separated at safe social distances in the downtown area.
Each year, tens of thousands of people turn out for the celebration, flocking to Ah-Nab-Awen Park, the bridges over the Grand River and other nearby spots like the Sixth Street Bridge Park.
“Ultimately, the community’s safety is our number one priority. Acceptable social distancing measures would be difficult, if not impossible to maintain between those in attendance,” said Russ Hines, CEO of Riverbank Events and Media. “In addition, the costs to add the PPE equipment, police and fire personnel that would be needed make this financially challenging for all parties.”
Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington said Riverbank Events and Media and the city’s special events office attempted multiple times to re-imagine the event, but were unable to find a solution that avoided public health concerns.
“We have consulted with Dr. Adam London (administrative health officer for the Kent County Health Department), who agrees that any mass-gathering will be problematic until an effective vaccine is in place for this coronavirus,” Washington said.
In May, another major West Michigan Fourth of July fireworks show was also canceled. The Grand Haven City Council decided the possibility of spreading COVID-19 was too high to hold their annual event. Other big shows in Grandville, Kentwood and Wyoming were also canceled.
News 8 is working to put together a list of West Michigan fireworks shows that are still scheduled.