There’s still a chance. If Town Manager Roger Hernstadt can find a barge to shoot off the fireworks at a cost not to exceed $15,000, fireworks might still take place on New Years Eve on Fort Myers Beach. Several town council members are still concerned about large gatherings due to COVID-19 and are trying to find a way to make the fireworks happen so people can celebrate the end to a dreadful year.
Hernstadt came to the council Monday with a barge proposal, but that came at a cost of $25,000 and all on the council agreed that was too much money, nearly doubling the budget for fireworks
Councilman Dan Allers and Jim Atterholt were in favor of moving forward with the fireworks. Attorholt said being that this was an outdoor event and with all the educational efforts over the last few months, I think people can be trusted to approach this in a safe manor.
Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros was disappointed the Town Manager didn’t have additional options for the town council to consider. She said she wanted to take baby steps and move forward but there isn’t an option for baby steps in this scenario.
Councilman Bill Veach is not in favor. He gave the Sturgis Motorcycle rally as an example of large crowds that lead to additional outbreaks in the virus. The Washington Post reported that more than 330 COVID-19 cases and at least one death have been directly linked to the rally, which took place back in August South Dakota. The Post is calling the event a super-spreader responsible for many of the new cases being reported all around the country. 460,000 people attend the rally.
Hernstadt will now go back to see if he can find a barge solution under $15,000.
If the New Years Eve fireworks are postponed until 2021 the town will have to pay $4,000 to store the fireworks.