The New Years Eve fireworks celebration received a reprieve this week when town manager Roger Hernstadt was instructed by the council to explore options of having the fireworks in an area that would discourage large gatherings.
With a mask and social distancing mandate in place on the beach, and COVID-19 still an issue, all events that result in large gatherings have been canceled since March.
Mayor Ray Murphy said nothing is different now than it was a few months ago. “From all indications Florida is having a resurgence in cases and we all know there will not be a vaccine available. What’s changed? We didn’t allow the fireworks for the 4th of July and that was smart. If there’s an alternative, I’m open to discuss it. Short of that, nothing has changed.”
Vice Mayor Rexann Hosafros suggested having the fireworks on a barge at mid-island hoping that might encourage people to spread out more.
Councilman Jim Atterholt said he liked that idea. “We should have something. People want to celebrate the end of 2020. If it can be done safely, it’s worth exploring.”
Murphy added, “we are trying to avoid people piling on top of one another. The goal is to keep people away from each other.”
Councilman Bill Veach said he’d like the town manager to work with the vendor to defer the fireworks completely.
The town has already invested a $10,000 deposit with the fireworks vendor and would need to pay another $10,000 if the fireworks were to take place. Hernstadt is hoping to have additional information by Monday’s meeting