On Tuesday, June 7th, Mayor Jim Forthofer met in the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce offices with Board President Tiffany Sekeres and Executive Director Sandy Coe. At that time he informed them that, in the interest of the health of the general population of Vermilion, the Fish Festival would not be permitted to proceed in 2020.
"The reason for my decision is the unnecessary health risk to the residents of Vermilion from an assembly of 30,000 people," stated the mayor. "The number of Erie County and Vermilion cases of COVID-19 are low. The influx of a large volume of visitors from communities with much higher presence of the virus would be an unconscionable risk. It would not only affect those present at the festival but other Vermilion residents who come in contact with those people, etc., etc. Additionally, because most public events in surrounding communities have been cancelled this year, it is my belief that the attendance could be even higher than usual."
"I am keenly aware of the disappointment of Fish Festival attendees and the missed business opportunities for festival vendors and local business," said Mayor Forthofer. "However, I am sworn to act in the best interest of Vermilion as a totality. After conference with the Erie County Health Department it is my conclusion that the risk to the public would be too great for the community we love."
The mayor stated it is his hope to be able to work with Vermilion service organizations to host some smaller, more manageable events this summer that everyone can enjoy safely, while planning for Fish Festival 2021.