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Last year’s Jam on Sloss Lake draws a crowd for the annual Fourth of July celebration. This year’s celebration is the latest victim of the coronavirus, with the Russellville City Council announcing its cancellation at the Monday meeting.

Council cancels Jam on Sloss Lake

After much consideration, the Russellville City Council unanimously voted at their Monday meeting to cancel this year’s Fourth of July celebration because of the COVID-19 virus.

Councilmembers agreed that hosting the Jam on Sloss Lake this year would be too much of a risk to the public because of the virus.

“We would hate to have everyone show up and a lot of people end up getting sick from it,” said Russellville Mayor David Grissom. “There are a lot of things to consider, but ultimately we feel like it is the best decision to cancel.”

Councilman Gary Cummings, who spearheads coordinating the Jam each year, said it would be difficult to host the celebration while still maintaining CDC guidelines. “I don’t know how we could enforce social distancing,” Cummings said.

Cummings said the city had not yet begun planning for the celebration, so the city was not out any money by deciding to cancel.

The council discussed still having the firework show and having people stay in their cars for it, but Russellville fire marshal Justin Green said that proposal came with its own problems.

“Right now there is an issue with issuing permits for fireworks,” Green said. “Right now, it is not looking like anyone will be approved for fireworks in time for Fourth of July.”

Grissom said he talked to several local mayors about their plans are for July 4 celebrations, and most were moving the fireworks to a later date.

The council discussed having a firework show over Labor Day weekend or Veterans Day weekend and ultimately decided to apply for fireworks for Sept. 5 and Nov. 7, to see which date would be approved.

“We do not know how long all of this is going to go on for, so at least by deciding to move fireworks to a later date, we can have time to prepare,” Grissom said.

Despite the unanimous decision to cancel the Fourth of July celebration this year, Grissom said it is not going to be the same without it.

“We hate having to cancel,” Grissom said. “At the end of the day, we are just trying to do the best we can to keep everyone safe. I guess we will just look forward to having a bigger celebration next year.”