New Years Eve Fireworks Not Dead Yet


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


  1. NEW YEARS EVE firework? WHY NOT!!
    Zero support from our FMB Mayor!! We know that the pandemic is real, because we’re LIVING it as a local restaurant owner on this island, and we are exhausted!!
    We live in constant fear that this so called highly contagious disease could make us close our doors at any given time again because of the corrupt government, & fear the media puts out there! “We In the restaurant industry know what we’re doing, we take extreme precaution for the safety of our guest and employees, of course the health of our guest and team matter to us. It’s also a CHOICE for people to come in and dine. “Fear stay home, NO fear come join us” Pretty simple!
    23 years of owning a restaurant a bar & catering conference center, this isn’t new to us. We take pride in our establishment, making sure we keep a clean environment for all! We have passed every health inspection over the years and now a restaurant owner in FMB Florida, we’ve passed inspections here too. Definitely don’t need anyone telling us how to run a safe/ clean restaurant!
    FYI: The department of Florida health inspector, stated masks weren’t a regulation or mandatory in the state of Florida. The individual who called in on us “said we were violating by not making our staff wear masks” it’s a zero violation by the state. So we got 100% on our inspection.) It’s a business decision only.
    This was an eye-opener for me, Believe me, I follow the laws & I don’t disobey. My liquor license and food license keeps my doors open. I wouldn’t jeopardize anything! if it was such a big deal to wear masks in restaurants, The FL health department would’ve made it a mandate/mandatory in the restaurant industry! But it’s NOT!
    It’s called The media fear! True facts: 99.9% survival rate. We left it up to Our team to make the decision to stay on board and left it up to them as a choice to wear a mask or not, our team can’t go without money & don’t know too many people that can. They are tired of it too.
    We have been adapting for over half a year. We reevaluated our business plan, restructured our staffing, eliminated 50%- 75% of our seating over 6 months, spent extra money on protective equipment and supplies this last 6 months!! It cost money!! I don’t believe the mayor knows what all goes into running a business & what we do to keep people employed & keep our doors open!! But yet, let’s take more revenue from them!! Doesn’t matter to him! RAY still gets paid! I said it before, if his paycheck was taken would he see this in a different view??
    An insurance loophole ensures that restaurant business interruption insurance does not cover a viral pandemic. We weren’t legally and ethically allowed to operate at full capacity so money was taken from us daily for 6 months our bills are the same as they ever were. Most weeks it costs more to operate the business than we are able to earn. For our mayor Ray not to stand up and fight for local businesses knowing the fatality is extremely low, the survival rate 99% is just ridiculous to still have any restrictions on the island especially when the governor of Florida clearly stated “lift all restrictions” Ray isn’t looking at true numbers therefore the local businesses suffer more and miss out on the largest events, businesses could recoup revenue on these large events, like NEW YEARS EVE! We missed out on Saint Paddy‘s day, memorial day Fourth of July. Very sad!! Enough is enough!
    I see businesses closing left and right throughout United States and a 7 mile island with zero fatalities. RAY you should rethink & start supporting the local businesses. A big disappointment as a business owner on this island.

  2. I was really hoping one of the Council members would have have answered Ray’s question “what has changed” because that’s a very simple answer. On top of the list is that we now have relatively no healthcare burden (anyone remember flatten the curve?), we now clearly know the demographics who at most at risk and who should make their own heath decisions by taking extra precautions, we now have better therapeutics and understanding on how to treat the virus, and most importantly is the data which shows the mortality is a fraction of what it was months ago. I can certainly understand why the Council is making unpopular decisions if they truly are uneducated on what has changed with COVID since these restrictions were put in place originally. There has never been a legitimate goal to reduce infection; it’s always been about mortality rates and a ton has changed since this began.

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