Morehead City plans to hold Fourth of July fireworks

Fireworks explode over the Morehead City waterfront during a past Fourth of July celebration. The city council said it plans to hold the annual fireworks show this year amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. (Downtown Morehead City photo)

MOREHEAD CITY — MoreheadCity officials say the annual Fourth of July fireworks show will go on as planned this year amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Morehead City Council discussed whether to move forward with the celebration during a workshop meeting Wednesday morning. City Manager Ryan Eggleston said he brought the matter before the board because he needs to place an order soon for the fireworks, should the city decide to proceed. 

Overall, the board expressed its support for hosting the show, possibly with some measures in place to discourage large crowds from gathering to watch. Mayor Jerry Jones suggested closing the city’s public parks the night of the show, and Councilman Bill Taylor recommended the city encourage social distancing in its advertising leading up to Saturday, July 4.

“My personal opinion is Independence Day is July 4 and this country has a birthday every year whether we have a virus or not,” Mayor Jones said.

The city budgeted $15,000 in the current fiscal year for the fireworks show. It anticipates more than a $1.4 million budget shortfall for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning Wednesday, July 1, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If we place the order, we’re on the hook for it financially if we make the decision to cancel it,” Mr. Taylor noted.

Emerald Isle recently drew criticism for canceling its Fourth of July fireworks show, citing concern over large crowds that may gather to view it.

Some Morehead City council members acknowledged it is likely people will gather to view the show there, especially downtown along the waterfront. However, the consensus among the council was that it’s up to individuals to choose whether or not to attend.

“There’s been some years I’ve stayed at my house and watched them in my yard,” Councilman George Ballou said. “We’re not organizing and we’re not encouraging (crowds), but we’re going to have a fireworks show.”

The city council will formally vote whether to proceed with this year’s Fourth of July fireworks celebration during its monthly meeting scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.  

 

Contact Elise Clouser at elise@thenewstimes.com; by phone at 252-726-7081 ext. 229; or follow on Twitter @eliseccnt.

(7) comments

Swood

Please reconsider having the fireworks since we have seen new cases in a few days. I truly love fireworks but am more concerned about the public’s health.

SandFiddler

Emerald Isle's decision to cancel was intelligent and responsible regardless whether it drew criticism. According to their press release they said: "The health and safety of our residents, guests, employees and contractors remain of utmost importance to the Town of Emerald Isle. Recommended guidelines for operation cannot be maintained currently nor in the foreseeable future for mass gatherings such as the July 4th Fireworks".

Yes, council, "it’s up to individuals to choose whether or not to attend" but how many do you think will not attend? It's also been up to individuals to practice safe hygiene but most are not doing so regardless of safety measures. Yes, Mayor Jones, "this country has a birthday regardless whether we have a virus or not". We all realize that. We love our country and we will celebrate it's birthday with or without fireworks! The hard cold fact is our country HAS a virus and that virus is a PANDEMIC. We also have demonstrations/protests against police brutality which could possibly erupt among a large gathering. Would we and especially our children be safe? Are the law enforcement in our area equipped to handle that? Both budgets and safety are important but we want to LIVE so we can enjoy our great country's future birthdays. I hope the Council votes responsibly on Tuesday.

Always A Teacher

Not encouraging crowds???? How will that NOT happen? Many people are not wearing masks or social distancing. They just don't grasp the situation at all. If you actually think people will listen you are living in a dream world.

Core Sounder

Not in the mood to celebrate this year due to too many bad things that are happening. Our economy doing badly and now we are allowing looters and arsonist to have at it while bowing down to these people and kissing their rear ends at the same time.

sonsofPepe

Glad to see that a town didn't overreact to the hoax in one aspect.

saltydog

Why not? Didn't society decide the virus was no longer spreading when they took to the streets to vandalize/loot and protest against some perceived "injustice"? If we can protest in the streets, surely we can get together for fireworks.

Tommy81399

Where should I set to watch the fireworks. I'm from out of town & any help would be greatly appreciated

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