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Decision made: Weirton Fourth of July parade canceled

WEIRTON — In the wake of ongoing precautions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, along with projected budgetary concerns, there will be no Independence Day parade in Weirton this year.

The decision was announced Monday during a special meeting of the Weirton Board of Parks and Recreation, held by teleconference.

Park Board Chair Edwin J. Bowman noted there continue to be limitations on recommended crowd sizes in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronovirus, and the parade regularly attracts hundreds of area residents standing along Main Street.

“I don’t see how you control social distancing,” Bowman said.

Thursday morning, Gov. Jim Justice announced crowds of no more than 100 people would be allowed to gather for events, increasing from groups of 25.

“I don’t even know if organizations would participate,” board member Deb Witkowski said. “I think we need to take this year off. It makes good sense.”

Witkowski also noted parades and festivities for the Independence Day holiday had been canceled in other area communities, including Wellsburg which has a week-long celebration, and Follansbee had canceled its annual Community Days festival.

Another concern expressed by members of the board is certain costs associated with organizing the parade, including overtime pay for officers of the Weirton Police Department and other municipal employees.

“That’s a lot of money, and things are tight,” board member Doug Finton said, referring to budgetary concerns and cost-saving measures implemented by the municipal administration in response to the pandemic.

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