Watertown’s concert in the park and COVID restrictions

Updated: Apr. 20, 2021 at 12:00 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The show must go on. Watertown City Council is keeping COVID from canceling the 4th of July concert. However, this year will be different.

The concert at Thompson Park is typically put on by the Watertown Noon Rotary Club.

But because of fundraising issues during COVID, it’s changing hands this year.

“Noon Rotary couldn’t proceed with the event. So, the city, we decided that we would proceed and do the event ourselves,” said Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith.

City council agreed to take on the show Monday night.

It’ll cost $40,000, expected to come from federal COVID relief funds.

Council Member Sarah Compo says that covers things like fireworks, the orchestra, and a stage large enough to keep them socially distanced.

“I think it’s a small amount to pay for a lot of enjoyment for a lot of people,” she said.

Watertown Mayor Jeff Smith says even with the state’s 20 percent capacity rule for outdoor events, the concert has never drawn a crowd large enough to reach that number.

“It’s been as high as between 6,000 and 7,000 is the highest ever. So, we base it on the highest number this year and it still wouldn’t be at 20 percent capacity,” he said.

People will either be able to walk to the concert through determined entry points, or get bussed in.

But no matter how they get there, attendees need to show proof of vaccination, or a recent negative COVID test.

“To have that many people in one area, I think that we have to take those precautions, and I would think the public would want to know that as well, and to know that they are going to be in a safe environment,” said Lisa Ruggiero, city council member.

If all goes according to plan, this year’s concert is slated for Thursday, July 1.

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