MARTINEZ (CBS SF/BCN) — With little hope of public gatherings being allowed by July, the Martinez City Council has voted to cancel the community’s popular Fourth of July fireworks show and annual Independence Day parade.

By a 5-0 vote Wednesday night, council members gave City Manager Eric Figueroa permission to cancel the events.

Deputy City Manager Michael Chandler said a cancellation is all but certain, and that it would take some surprising and drastic changes like county health officers’ relaxing of social distancing rules, to allow the events to proceed.

Health officers in Contra Costa County and from other Bay Area counties have said they don’t expect large public gatherings to be allowed in the foreseeable future, and likely not the rest of 2020.

Martinez’s parade is an old-fashioned procession of local civic groups, youth sports teams, elected officials in convertibles, first
responders and clubs that brings thousands of spectators to Main Street downtown on the morning of July 4. The fireworks show draws several thousand people to the Radke Martinez Regional Shoreline each year.

“It just kills me not to have them this year, but too many people would be at the marina, crowded in the dark,” Councilwoman Debbie McKillop said. “We can’t risk the public’s safety.”

Martinez officials al,so had a financial incentive to cancel soon. The city’s contract with Sacramento-based Pyro Spectaculars, which puts on the fireworks display for the city, allowed it to recover $1,336 of the $9,386 deposit it paid in February if city officials canceled before June 4.

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