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It's Official: Covington, Newport, Bellevue Pull Out of Riverfest 2020

Covington and Bellevue announced Friday that they are pulling out of participation of this year's Riverfest, joining Newport which announced its withdrawal last week.

The COVID-19 pandemic and government and health officials' insistence that social-distancing is still needed to mitigate its spread prompted the cities to cancel their participation in the annual riverfront event that includes a large fireworks show sponsored by WEBN radio.

“This is about protecting the health and safety of our residents,” said Covington Assistant City Manager Bruce Applegate, who is leading Covington’s response to COVID-19. “Two things are absolutely clear: Health officials are strongly counseling against any large gatherings of people, and the number of COVID-19 cases in Kentucky and across the nation have been increasing dramatically.”

The city’s decision was contained in an executive order signed Friday afternoon by Covington Mayor Joe Meyer. Meyer polled the city commission at its meeting Tuesday of this week, and the consensus was to cancel participation.

The City of Bellevue announced earlier Friday that it was not planning to participate this year.

"Based on current restrictions and logistical issues the City of Bellevue will not be participating in Riverfest this year," the city said on its Facebook page. "Our top priority remains to keep everyone safe and healthy!"

Newport's announcement came first, last week.

"The COVID-19 Outbreak has caused a number of notable events in the City to be cancelled. Based on current restrictions and other logistical issues the City has decided not to participate in Riverfest 2020 and will not issue any associated City permits or licenses," the city said on its Facebook page.

The City of Cincinnati also participates in the annual event that involves many police and firefighters from all the municipalities, as well as road closures in order to control the many thousands of people that gather on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend for the fireworks show.

-Staff report

Photo: Riverfest in 2019 (RCN file)

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