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Music Festival Organizers sue Ohio over coronavirus restrictions

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Organizers from The Country Fest (North Lawrence, OH) and Bellwether Music Festival (Harveysburg, OH) filed a federal lawsuit against Dr. Amy Acton and two county health departments on Thursday in the Southern District of Ohio. The suit claims that Acton violates the organizers’ First Amendment rights by not allowing the music festivals to go on as planned.

In the suit, organizers argue that the ongoing protests in the state aren’t adhering to social distancing protocols, so festivals should be able to move forward with their plans.

“There is no difference between a large crowd gathering in the downtown of a large Ohio city to hear speech from speakers versus a large crowd gathering at Renaissance Park or Clay’s Park Resort (or at other venues) to hear speech in the form of music and other entertainment,” the suit states.

Neither festival has been cancelled, but due to the actions by Dr. Acton, Bellwether organizers are unsure if the festival will continue this year. The suit is asking to invalidate Acton’s order from May 29, which restricted parades, fairs, festivals, and carnivals. They are also asking that Acton, as well as the Warren County Health District and Stark County Combined General Health District, will not threaten their vendors following the legal action.

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