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Coronavirus Causes City Officials to Change, Cancel 4th of July Fireworks

With the coronavirus continuing to spread and causing the need for social distancing, quite a few cities in our region are canceling this year’s fireworks shows.

“It was the concern over the threat of what’s called a ‘super spreader event,’” Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy said of his city’s recent decision to skip fireworks. “Thirty thousand people close together, even outdoors, is not a safe or responsible thing for a government to coordinate. We were all resigned to recognize the risk of the virus and found ourselves with no choice.”

A bit up the road, Deerfield Beach Mayor Bill Ganz tells the South Florida Sun Sentinel, “We were all torn about it. No one wanted to see the fireworks go away. It’s an American tradition to have fireworks on the Fourth of July. But we are dealing with the pandemic [and] we had over 90,000 people attend last year’s event.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends having no more than 50 people at gatherings.

Other cities such as Fort Lauderdale, Plantation, Pompano Beach and West Palm Beach want their residents to watch scaled-back fireworks shows from home.

In Margate, people will be able to visit the city’s sports complex to watch a shortened 10-minute show from their cars.

“Everyone was canceling but us,” Margate Mayor Tommy Ruzzano said. “I’m glad to see Fort Lauderdale is going through with it too. Margate is patriotic and big on veterans.”

North Lauderdale says people there can watch their fireworks show from home or several locations, including City Hall, Carl Fusco Park and the county library.

Meanwhile, Plantation and West Palm Beach so far are not telling the public where their fireworks shows will be held.

Plantation already paid for the fireworks, leading officials to decide to go on with the show.

However, Boca Raton will not have its own fireworks show this time around.

“Even if they have an undisclosed location, people will find it and make their way there,” Councilman Andy Thomson said. “Fireworks are meant to be seen. They’re an attraction. But it makes it difficult to socially distance.”

Fort Lauderdale, which normally has a big show at A1A and Las Olas Blvd., plans to have four smaller displays this year.

Officials there are also telling residents to watch those shows from their homes.

“You never need to leave your house,” Mayor Dean Trantalis said. “This is a chance for people to feel good about themselves and the country and still enjoy the holiday while social distancing. We don’t want to be hiding in our homes when we can be in the fresh outdoors at our home and still enjoying the holiday.”

Fireworks will be launched at 9 p.m. at Holiday Park at U.S. 1 and Sunrise Boulevard; City Hall at Andrews Avenue and Northeast First Street; Carter Park at Northwest 16th Avenue and Sunrise Boulevard; and the Beach Community Center at State Road A1A and Oakland Park Boulevard.

In addition, police officers will be out on patrol in each city, making sure crowds do not form.