The Journal Gazette
Thursday, July 02, 2020 1:00 am

Fireworks canceled for safety

May be rescheduled as virus, protest fears prompt decision

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

Concerns about the coronavirus and potential demonstrations prompted the cancellation of the Fourth of July fireworks show in downtown Fort Wayne, the city announced Wednesday.

The annual pyrotechnics display from atop the Indiana Michigan Power Center was planned for 10 p.m. Saturday.

“Local leaders have been made aware of other gatherings and possible demonstrations scheduled for Saturday in some of the areas where many visitors gather to watch the fireworks display,” the city said in a statement. “In addition, leaders also have concerns about continued local COVID-19 cases and the challenges of proper social distancing at the event.”

Protests have become a regular occurrence in Fort Wayne, mostly downtown, since the Memorial Day death of George Floyd, a Black man, while in Minneapolis police custody.

Demonstrations have been mostly peaceful, but the first weekend of protests in late May ended with some reports of vandalism and crowd-dispersing measures by police including tear gas.

Meanwhile, the number of people diagnosed with COVID-19 continues to rise. Wednesday, the state reported eight more Hoosiers have died from the disease, bringing the total to 2,456, and 371 new cases have been identified through testing.

Statewide, the number of known cases was almost 46,000 Wednesday. Allen County had 2,705 total cases and 110 total deaths as of Wednesday.

Sponsors of the fireworks show – the city of Fort Wayne, Allen County Board of Commissioners, NAI Hanning & Bean and the Three Rivers Festival – hope to reschedule this year, but a target date was not announced.

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