DUBLIN (KPIX) — Bay Area Fourth of July celebrations are going to be very different this year due to the pandemic and health experts are concerned about large family gatherings.

In Dublin, Safe and Sane Fireworks are legal, but during a pandemic, it’s not just about the pyrotechnics being safe and legal, it’s about the people watching them staying healthy.

The city has cancelled the annual July 4 parades and nighttime fireworks displays over concerns about spreading coronavirus.

“We have a tremendous spike in COVID-19 right now we are managing that here,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriffs Department.

Health officials are concerned the holiday weekend may further exacerbate the problem and we may see a spike in COVID-19 cases two weeks later.

Tim Delaporte was selling Safe and Sane Fireworks as a fundraiser for the Dublin Rotary Club.

“People are getting anxious. They want to get out there they want to do something,” said Delaporte.

Hopefully, they’ll heed the coronavirus health warning posted right outside the fireworks booths.

“Gatherings of no more than 10 people, face coverings and use social media to share your fireworks rather than gathering in person,” reads the warning.

If residents do decide to gather this July 4, health experts advise them to stick to small pods.

For example, a family counts as one pod, and should only mix with pods who have been practicing safe COVID-19 protocols – e.g. wearing masks, social distancing, washing their hands.

Dr. David Witt is a Kaiser epidemiologist. KPIX asked him how to deal with a guest who doesn’t want to wear a mask at your party or forgets to bring one? There is always that one guest who maybe doesn’t bring a mask or social distance, and it makes it a little awkward.

“If you have an extra mask ask them to wear it and if someone isn’t going to do that you have to be prepared to ask them to leave,” said Dr. Witt. “Its more than just social. They will never forgive themselves if they give your pod COVID.”

Safe and Sane Fireworks sales are up this year, according to vendors, which may mean that backyard parties are in the works — with fireworks.

To ensure a truly safe, sane and COVID-free Fourth of July, health experts say it’s a good idea to have a box of masks on hand to wear or share. When it comes to backyard barbecues, they advised guests to bring their own food.

Juliette Goodrich

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