Blair's Fourth of July fireworks show will go on — as of now — despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Blair City Council discussed the issue during its regular meeting via videoconferencing Tuesday night.
City Administrator Rod Storm said the city budgets $6,500 each for the fireworks show, which is also supplemented by donations.
“The concern this year with the COVID-19 is what kind of celebrations are we going to be able to have,” he said.
City officials have participated in conference calls with Gov. Pete Ricketts, who has indicated Fourth of July celebrations, namely fireworks, could go on under controlled circumstances.
Storm sought the council's opinion on whether the city should continue with fireworks, delay them or just wait until next year.
Council member Jon Stewart suggested Aug. 1, which is also the scheduled date for Blair High School's graduation.
“That would be maybe a potential weekend,” he said.
However, other council members were in favor of moving forward with the planned fireworks show.
“We've addressed already the carnival and the parade (for Gateway to the West Days), which I can see if the governor wants to talk about that these are large gatherings of people close to each other,” council member Brad Andersen said. “I can't think of any time I've watched the fireworks that I was sitting near the back of my truck in a lawn chair. I was six feet away from most other folks around me.”
Andersen suggested if the show was to remain at the former Dana College campus that the city close the campus and allow people to watch from their vehicles while maintaining social distance.
“I would say, for the fireworks show, I just don't know that we need to postpone that unless something gets significantly worse,” he said.
Council members Mindy Rump, Kevin Hall, Chris Jensen and Marty Shepard agreed.
“It's Independence Day, let's celebrate. It's one more day of normalcy,” Jensen said.
“I mean we do live in America and this is the Fourth of July,” Shepard added. “We have to see how the pandemic is coming about, if it's affecting our area or not. It's going to be determined on the region you're living in in this country, so let's see how that goes as we come up to that date.”