BOWLING GREEN – There will be no booms or bright skies filled with fireworks in Wood County on Labor Day weekend.
Both Bowling Green and the Perrysburg-Maumee fireworks, which had been delayed from July 3 to Sept. 4, have been canceled due to coronavirus.
The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and Foundation, Fireworks Project Team, the City of Bowling Green, and Bowling Green State University made the announcement on Tuesday, as did the cities of Perrysburg and Maumee.
“This was a difficult decision for those involved to make,” said Bowling Green Mayor Michael Aspacher. “Based on the information available and with regard to the health and safety of all members of our community, I support this determination. We look forward to days ahead when we can join together safely.”
The decision to cancel the fireworks was unexpected, said Mary Hinkelman, executive director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce.
“Conversations with BGSU as a part of our logistics meeting with the city brought new considerations to light,” she said. “We understand the importance of keeping our community safe during this pandemic and that has been and always should be our first consideration.
“My heart aches for everything our community and our nation has had to forego this year. I think everyone can relate to the disappointment we are feeling after putting so much energy and resources into our planning, re-planning and especially the fundraising. We had hoped that things would improve so we kept making plans, but unfortunately they did not. The decision to cancel was in the best interest of our community. ”
The cities of Perrysburg and Maumee, in partnership with the Fort Meigs Historic Site, also canceled their Sept. 4 fireworks display.
The decision to cancel was a difficult one but necessary when considering the numerous health, safety, and cost-related issues, according to a Perrysburg press release.
In June, the cities announced they were rescheduling the Fourth of July Fireworks Display, which are typically scheduled for July 3, to Sept. 4, due to coronavirus.
The health and safety of the community is of the upmost importance to our communities, the press release stated. Due to the increasing spread of coronavirus, the Ohio governor and the Ohio Department of Health have outlined specific social distancing requirements, which includes limiting mass gatherings to 10 people or less and maintaining at least 6 feet of social distancing from other individuals.
Due to the thousands of people that the fireworks display typically draws, maintaining and enforcing social distancing requirements will be exceptionally challenging, if not impossible.
Each year, large crowds always gather in Perrysburg at Fort Meigs Historic Site to watch and enjoy the fireworks with an unobstructed view.
Unfortunately, this year public safety requires that large groups not gather together even in an open venue like the fort, the press release stated. Putting Fort Meigs Historic Site in the position where it would be responsible for enforcing the safety requirements would be unfairly burdensome to the fort’s staff and volunteers.
The City of Perrysburg does not wish to potentially jeopardize its relationship with the fort by putting its leadership in a difficult situation, the press release stated.
The cities are also mindful of the costs associated with providing the fireworks to the community. While this is not the primary reason for the decision, both communities are incurring a reduction in revenue due to a reduction in tax collections as a result of the pandemic.