MARTINEZ (CBS SF) — Another casualty of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic could be the city of Martinez’s popular Fourth of July fireworks show and parade.
On Wednesday night, the Martinez City Council is expected to cancel both events, given that health officers in Contra Costa County and from around the Bay Area say they don’t expect public gatherings to be allowed in the foreseeable future, possibly not for the rest of 2020.READ MORE: Oakley School Board Interim Trustees Vote to Fill Vacant Seats; Reject Special Election
With Contra Costa County and regional health officers not expecting mandates for social distancing and against public gatherings to be lifted anytime soon, Martinez has a financial incentive to cancel now.
The city’s contract with Sacramento-based Pyro Spectaculars allows the city to recover $1,336 of the $9,386 deposit it paid Pyro Spectaculars in February, if the fireworks show is canceled before June 4. The original contract called for the city to pay Pyro Spectaculars $16,100 to put on the show, and if the City Council votes to cancel the show, it would end up paying $8,050 – half of the event’s cost.
In the unlikely event that social distancing mandates are relaxed in the next few weeks enough to allow the parade and the fireworks show, City Manager Eric Figueroa said, the July 4 events could be revived, or be held later.
Figueroa said he understands the festivities’ importance to the city’s social fabric. The parade is an old-fashioned procession of local civic groups, youth sports teams, elected officials, first responders and clubs that brings thousands of spectators to Main Street downtown. The fireworks show draws several thousand people to the Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline each year.
“It’s conceivable things will change,” Figueroa said. “But social distancing will be the normal course of behavior for a while.”READ MORE: 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Eyes California Ban on High-Capacity Ammo Magazines
Martinez wouldn’t be the first Bay Area city to cancel its Fourth of July festivities.
Orinda, which hosts one of Contra Costa County’s largest holiday parades, has canceled the parade and surrounding activities this year, citing the coronavirus.
Pleasant Hill, which hosts a large parade on Independence Day, has canceled that event and its post-parade celebration due to the coronavirus. El Cerrito has canceled its July 4 celebration, a victim of both the COVID-19 pandemic and the city’s budget problems.
Antioch, Vallejo and Novato, among other cities, have already canceled Independence Day celebrations over coronavirus-related restrictions.
The Danville 2020 Kiwanis 4th of July Parade, which draws more than 30,000 spectators each year and is one of the largest such parades in the Bay Area, has not yet been canceled. According to the Kiwanis Club of San Ramon Valley, which puts it on, “it is unclear at this time” whether the parade will happen, and that updated information is expected by mid-May.MORE NEWS: 2 Shot Near Horace Mann School in San Jose
Wednesday’s Martinez City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m., and it is a “telemeeting” being held online and via phone only.