SOUTH HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — The city of South Haven has called off its annual Fourth of July fireworks show for the second year in a row.
The city cited COVID-19 safety concerns in announcing its decision Friday, saying that the event, which draws tens of thousands of people, is simply too big for the city’s beaches to be safe.
City Manager Kate Hosier told News 8 it made the most sense to make the decision now.
“The reason why we made it now because there’s quite a bit of logistics and planning that go into it, several months’ worth of coordinating,” Hosier said.
The move has many visitors disappointed. Dylan Kalas of Paw Paw said he does not understand why the event can’t be held safely with masks and other precautions.
“With the vaccines starting to come out and be available for everyone in May, then there should be a lot better chance for everybody, the turn going down and things looking a lot brighter so if they want to make a final decision, it should be in June and not right now,” Kalas said.
Others say the cancellation was necessary, skeptical that enough people will have been vaccinated by Independence Day to reach herd immunity.
City leaders say in addition to the public health concern, many businesses do not have enough revenue to donate to the fireworks display.
Even with the event scrapped, the city urged people to visit this summer to go to its beaches, check out a new splash pad or visit its parks and shops. Tom Feeney, a co-owner of Harbor Light Brewery in downtown South Haven, expects to have full capacity as people come in for the holiday weekend.
“Yes, it will reduce the revenue to some extent but the fireworks, as I understand, is business-funded and last year was not real good,” Feeney said.
The 2020 fireworks were canceled not because of the pandemic but because of high water levels that made it impossible to safely launch them from the north pier.