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FARMINGTON -- Farmington's FreedomFest fireworks show will go off in celebration of Independence Day but city officials want local residents to remember to be safe and follow physical distancing as recommended due to covid-19 concerns.

Melissa McCarville, city business manager, said watching a fireworks display is one community event that fits the guidelines by the Arkansas Department of Health to help slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

"I don't know what better event you could have where you could stay in your cars or in your backyards," McCarville said. "It gives us some semblance of normalcy."

The city is asking people to stay 6-feet apart when they set up to watch the fireworks, excluding family groups and people that have already been together on a regular basis.

The display will start after dark Saturday, July 4. As in past years, the fireworks will be shot off from the middle school parking lot. The Farmington football field will not be open for spectators this year, per a request from the fireworks operator with J&M Displays for safety reasons.

Other parking lots will be off limits because of road construction on Double Springs Road: the school administration parking lot on Double Springs and school parking lot located at Double Springs and Main Street.

The city is paying $15,000 for this year's show, up from $10,000 in the past. McCarville said the increased cost is "directly related to the length of the show."

Farmington did not have to get a permit from the Arkansas Department of Health for the fireworks show, as is now required for events under Phase 2 rules for the covid-19 pandemic.

The health department is requiring permits for events where people congregate in one area and food and vendors are available for guests.

Farmington did not meet the requirements for a permit because people will not all congregate in one area, and food and vendors will not be available, McCarville said.

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