The Fourth of July is often celebrated with backyard barbecues, American flags, and of course, fireworks. However, this year the coronavirus pandemic has created a major obstacle for many fourth of July celebrations. Many major American cities that are known for their massive annual displays have already made announcements for what they plan to do this year to ensure spectators remain healthy and safe while still enjoying sparks light up the night sky.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall cancelled the city’s firework shows that typically take place in Jordan and Liberty Park and instead is asking residents to decorate their homes in red, white, and blue. Residents will be able to light their own fireworks from July 2nd to July 5th between the hours of 11 a.m. and 11 p.m., according to the Salt Lake City fire department.
Chicago cancelled its annual fireworks show at the Navy Pier but the city is still planning on maintaining some level of safe celebration. The city itself is hosting an at-home salsa dance class, a virtual house music festival, and a virtual Independence Day Salute concert accompanied by a professional orchestra for multiple ways of celebrating.
“While we all reflect on America’s promise of freedom and justice and its painful legacy of racial injustice, I invite Chicagoans to commemorate this year’s holiday with family and close friends, connected with our city and people across our country through the healing power of music,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
In Washington D.C., the nation’s capital is still planning to have some celebrations this year, although the National Independence Day Parade has been cancelled. “A Capitol Fourth” will be hosting a pre-recorded 90 minute program on PBS at 8 p.m. on the fourth as opposed to their normal annual live show in the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn.
The White House also released a statement in which they said their national “Salute to America” will take place on the South Lawn and feature music, military demonstrations, and flyovers to honor the nation’s service members and first responders who have been battling this pandemic on the front lines.
Las Vegas is continuing on with plans of multiple firework displays, including one at the famous Red Rock Resort. The event will also be live streamed on the resorts website and social media pages so that anyone can enjoy the show from the comfort of quarantine. The Red Rock Resort parking lot will also be open for spectators who want to see the display in person with social distancing measures enforced.
Los Angeles in general has been setting off fireworks mysteriously every night amid the massive protests for social justice; the same occurrences have been happening in New York City and other major metropolitans as well. The city itself, however, is still planning to continue on with their annual Independence Day shows, but will likely be reduced to only last for 15 minutes maximum.
Finally, New York City recently got word from Macy’s that the retail giant would be setting off 5-minute firework displays in all five boroughs of the city over multiple nights, starting on June 29th.
“Each display will launch from one or two unannounced land or water-based locations across New York City. The final display sites were chosen because they could safely accommodate the launch and firing of large-scale pyrotechnics,” according to city officials.
Regardless of how you plan to celebrate this year, it’s of the utmost importance that we all collectively continue to listen to the world’s healthcare workers and abide by social distancing measures. If you’re planning on attending a firework show in person that is projected to attract a large crowd, wear a face covering, stand at least six feet apart from everyone, and make sure to sanitize/clean yourself properly after you return home.
Eric Mastrota is a Contributing Editor at The National Digest based in New York. A graduate of SUNY New Paltz, he reports on world news, culture, and lifestyle. You can reach him at email@example.com.