SCHOOLCRAFT, Mich. — Another West Michigan community made the decision to cancel its Fourth of July celebrations due to COVID-19.
It's something the Village of Schoolcraft's Fourth of July committee has been monitoring since the beginning of the year. With the current pandemic, they thought it would be best to cancel its annual celebrations for the second year in a row.
This year would've been the 96th year of festivities.
"It is a very hard decision. We are taking it very seriously. It is a huge community event," said Cheri Lutz, the Village of Schoolcraft's Village Manager.
The Village of Schoolcraft made the announcement Monday.
"Obviously COVID is a big concern. Large gatherings, we generate thousands and thousands of people here on the 4th of July. There were concerns of social distancing and being able to monitor that. That would be very, very difficult to do," said Lutz.
Just the parade alone attracts upwards of 10,000 people each year, according to Lutz.
In addition, it takes months to plan as they partially shut down Highway 131 and have to apply for permits to light off the fireworks.
"We were kind of holding off as long as possible, or they were, in order to make the proper decision. We decided that March would be a good time to make that decision of course there is so much planning that goes into making that event happen, hours and hours of work that begin right now," said Lutz.
While it is a big deal, the Fourth of July committee and the village council decided it would be in the best interest of the community to do so.
"There are a lot of people who are very unhappy about it, understandably so. It was a decision that nor the committee or the council took lightly, but we do have an interest in keeping everybody safe and protected, and so that was the decision that was made," said Lutz.
The announcement comes almost two weeks after the city of South Haven announced it would be canceling its Fourth of July celebrations as well.