FAYETTEVILLE, WV (WOAY) – It was a unanimous vote during an emergency Bridge Day Commission meeting to cancel the state’s largest one-day festival for the second year in a row–a decision the BASE jumping community says wasn’t an easy one.
“This is one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make. There’s no other group of people who want to be out there more than the BASE-jumping community, it’s a very special day, that is the 6 hours per year we’re allowed to participate in the sport we’ve chosen,” says Marcus Ellison, a Bridge Day BASE jumper coordinator.
But the Fayette County Health Department, along with other organizations, have always been concerned that Bridge Day wasn’t going to look like Bridge Day of years past, and the Coronavirus is to blame.
“We had already decided that we didn’t think the event was going to be able to be held in the same manner as it normally is because of all of the shortages. And two, if one or more jumpers get hurt and something serious happens, which happens every year, the likelihood of them getting prompt and good treatment was low,” he says.
And that, according to BASE jumpers is the only reason they decided to pull out of Bridge Day, despite some saying they were influenced and given misleading information.
“We have continually watched our hospital numbers and our EMS response times and our COVID numbers, and they just listened to the stakeholders and knew this just wasn’t a good time to be bringing so many people into this event,” says Teri Harlan, Fayette County Health Department Administrator.
“This event is organized by a team, it’s not just us,” Ellison adds.