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Longmont City Manager Issues Statement About Fireworks Show

Post Date:06/18/2020 5:02 PM


After careful consideration of the Governor’s orders, Boulder County Public Health guidance and our staff recommendations, I am requesting that the City Clerk’s office not issue the Use of Public Places Permit for a 4th of July fireworks show this year. While I believe that our Fire staff would ensure a safe show and our Police staff would ensure safe public places, I cannot risk the safety of our community if the public does not comply with our plan for a “watch from home” event. I also cannot transfer the burden of crowd control to private property owners because, while gathering would be discouraged, we suspect crowds of varying sizes would gather in prime viewing spots all over town to watch the show. As a result, my assessment is that we cannot ensure that fewer than 175 people would gather (state limits based on the revised orders this week) and in addition, we would have no way to conduct contact tracing if there were to be an outbreak of COVID-19. Unfortunately, we have seen an outbreak this week in our neighboring community due to people gathering and disregarding public health orders. 

According to the Times Call today: 
Boulder County has the third highest increase in new coronavirus cases in the Denver metro area as of Wednesday, following a recent surge in infections. Since June 11, 108 Boulder County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a news release Wednesday from Boulder County Public Health. Public health officials said the new cases represent a reversal in the trend of new cases in Boulder County. Before last week, Boulder County had the second lowest new case rate in the Denver metro area. As of Wednesday, Boulder County has the third-highest increase in cases in the region, just after Denver and Adams counties, according to the release. "It's important to remember that this virus is still active in our community and we all need to take personal responsibility to follow the orders and guidance. Our personal actions can have social, economic, and health consequences for the entire community," [Boulder County Public Health Executive Director] Zayach stated in the release. 

Another consideration I have carefully weighed is the cost of holding such an event during a time of economic uncertainty and restricted budgets. We estimate that public safety staffing alone would run into the tens of thousands of dollars, not counting additional costs that would be incurred by the community if there were to be new outbreaks of COVID-19 from lack of compliance with public health guidelines regarding large gatherings, social distancing, and face coverings. The number of cases in a community directly affect the ability for Boulder County to ask for variances that allow businesses to further reopen. If we have an increase in cases, we increase the challenge to our local business community. 

While we are all saddened that we won’t be able to enjoy a firework display this year, we recognize that we are all in this together. We are making these tough decisions in order to preserve the health of our community and to promote continued economic recovery for our businesses. We also look forward to different circumstances next year and to celebrating together in a big (and safer) way on the occasion of Longmont’s 150th anniversary. 

I appreciate all of the work the Skyline Kiwanis, Zambelli Fireworks and our staff have done to try to hold the 4th of July fireworks this year, but I don’t feel that we can take the risk of holding the event. The Skyline Kiwanis have stepped up to make this a signature event in Longmont, and I hope they can use the funds they have already raised to have the best show possible in 2021. 

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