JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – Jacksonville Beach leaders decided Monday to postpone the annual Fourth of July fireworks show.
The event will be held on New Year’s Eve instead.
Among the potential issues with the July event were the large crowds that were expected to attend and concerns about maintaining social distancing.
City Manager Mike Staffopolous said by inviting 10,000 people to town in the dark it would be impossible to enforce social distancing.
Staffopolous said other communities in Florida are also choosing to cancel or postpone the Fourth of July events.
Community members said the decision is upsetting but they understand it’s to keep the community safe.
Moriah Evanoff said she looks forward to the fireworks each year.
“I think its kind of disappointing. I know a lot of families look forward to it every year,” Evanoff said.
“I’m all for it," said Melinda Jarman. "A lot of people might not agree with me but my beliefs are as scary as that COVID was I think the best thing to do is to do the social distancing and its better to be safe than sorry.”
Councilman Cory Nichols pushed hard to keep the fireworks event as scheduled.
“Residents need to get out to do something,” he said.
The majority of those in attendance agreed that delaying the event due to COVID-19 and civil unrest is the right move.
Evanoff said even though she’ll miss the fireworks this year she understands the reason for postponing.
“It’s definitely another impact, another thing we have to lose out on but we have to do it for the community to be safe,” Evanoff said.
Jacksonville and St. Augustine are still debating their fireworks decisions.