For July Fourth, Many Cities Go Virtual or Cancel Fireworks Displays

People on the east side of Manhattan watch a fireworks display, part of Independence Day festivities, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in New York.

People on the east side of Manhattan watch a fireworks display, part of Independence Day festivities, Thursday, July 4, 2019, in New York. AP Photo/Jeenah Moon

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

Some larger cities have opted to cancel their Independence Day fireworks while others are hosting virtual events or taking steps to encourage social distancing. New York City is planning a nightly surprise show each day this week.

From virtual parades to unannounced fireworks shows, the Fourth of July will look different this year.

To prevent large gatherings and tamp down on the spread of coronavirus infections, many cities are canceling or curtailing traditional Independence Day celebrations.

Among those cities cancelling fireworks displays altogether is Philadelphia, where the Declaration of Independence was signed.

“We believe traditional fireworks displays encourage people to gather in close proximity which is not recommended at this time due to potential spread of Covid-19,” city spokeswoman Deana Gamble told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Instead, the city is hosting a series of online events this week, including nightly concert performances, virtual tours of city museums, and fitness and health programs. 

In Texas, where the number of coronavirus cases has surged in recent weeks, most recently leading Gov. Greg Abbott to order bars to close, some cities are still going forward with fireworks displays but taking additional precautions.

Houston will host its annual July Fourth fireworks show, but a festival that typically proceeds the display will go virtual.

“This was an easy decision as the safety of Houstonians is our greatest concern, and the numbers of people testing positive continue to increase every day,” Mayor Sylvester Turner told Houston Public Media.

Houston has cancelled more than 300 events this year over coronavirus concerns, but officials wanted to be able to go forward with some sort of Independence Day celebration. Performances by the Houston Symphony Orchestra, and other musicians, including local rappers and a mariachi band, will be broadcast on a local TV station and streamed online. The event will culminate with 15-minute fireworks show that city officials said can be viewed from across the city or virtually.

Dallas has cancelled its fireworks show altogether. Elsewhere in the state, displays will take place but cities are shutting down access to the parks where fireworks are being launched to discouraging crowds from gathering and instead instructing people to watch them from home.  

In Minnesota, Minneapolis has cancelled its large fireworks display but smaller surrounding towns and cities still plan to hold their own. At those events, cities are encouraging social distancing measures or asking spectators to watch from their cars or their homes.

With many government-sponsored fireworks shows canceled, some cities have considered encouraging a do-it-yourself approach. In Bismarck, North Dakota, lawmakers considered lifting the city’s fireworks ban to allow people to set off their own at-home pyrotechnics displays.

New York City has been awash in amateur fireworks displays in the weeks leading up to Independence Day, leading Mayor Bill de Blasio to announce the formation of a task force that has arrested people engaged in illegal sales.

To provide New Yorkers a way to view more traditional, professional displays, smaller fireworks shows are being held each night this week in each of the city’s five boroughs. To discourage crowds from gathering, the locations of the nightly five-minute fireworks displays will be disclosed only shortly beforehand.  

"In an effort to keep New Yorkers safe during this pandemic, we have decided not to announce the locations of the fireworks far in advance to prevent crowds from forming,” Jane Meyer, a spokeswoman for Mayor de Blasio told NY1. “We understand some New Yorkers do not want to be caught off guard, though, which is why we are going to send out notifications on the evening of each display alerting New Yorkers to the approximate time and location of the fireworks so they can prepare accordingly.”

On Saturday, a grand finale show will take place at the Empire State Building, which will be broadcast on television.

Andrea Noble is a staff correspondent with Route Fifty.

NEXT STORY: A Proposal to Exempt Schools from Civil Lawsuits if Students are Exposed to Covid-19 on Campus

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.