By Jane Smith
Fourth of July celebrations with fireworks, music and vendors will not take place this year in Delray Beach and Boynton Beach, their leaders decided May 19.
“None of us are excited about canceling it,” said Sam Metott, Delray Beach Parks and Recreation director.
The fireworks and barge would have cost an estimated $70,000, he said.
Delray Beach commissioners asked for a smaller scale event that would not draw such a large crowd. City staff will prepare suggestions for discussion at the June 2 commission meeting.
Boca Raton also has decided to cancel its July 4 celebration. The event was scheduled to take place at Countess de Hoernle Park.
"The collective health and safety of our community and staff are the priorities driving this tough decision," the city said on its website.
Boynton Beach commissioners decided to postpone the fireworks display, with staffers to return with ideas on July 15. The fireworks cost $62,000, City Manager Lori LaVerriere told commissioners, with a five-year contract giving flexibility on when they may be used.
Lantana will shoot off fireworks on July 4, but it will close Bicentennial Park to prevent crowds from gathering.
Cities nationwide have been advised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention not to hold events with large crowds, to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
CDC guidelines also call for people to keep a social distance of 6 feet, to wear face masks when they are closer, and to sanitize surfaces.
The current site of Boynton Beach’s fireworks at Intracoastal Park was jammed with 6,000 attendees in 2019, LaVerriere said.
Boynton Beach had planned to celebrate its centennial on July 4. In addition to the fireworks, the city wanted to set up a temporary postal branch on site for residents to write and send postcards to friends and families who live out of town.