Berlin Not Willing To Pull Plug On Fireworks Yet

Berlin Not Willing To Pull Plug On Fireworks Yet
File photo by Chris Parypa

BERLIN –  Town officials will wait to make a decision regarding the potential postponement of Berlin’s July 3 fireworks show.

As some municipalities have begun canceling Independence Day events as a result of the ongoing health crisis, Berlin officials said Monday they would make no decision yet regarding the annual event. Mayor Gee Williams said that if state guidelines for gatherings prevented the event from being held July 3, he’d recommend postponing the fireworks to a later date rather than canceling outright.

“We’ll take it a month at a time,” Williams said during Monday’s council meeting. “I suspect that some of the decisions the governor has to make, and his advisors, they won’t know until we get closer to that time.”

Williams launched Monday’s meeting, which was broadcast live via Facebook, with his estimates regarding the timeline for a return to normal operations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Planning the operation of the Town of Berlin, we currently are hopeful the first phase in reopening will begin around mid-May,  the second phase by early to mid-June and the third and final phase of the plan—to begin permitting larger events and further lessening restrictions—by  July,” Williams said. “These are all estimates but they’re based on the best information we currently have.”

When Town Administrator Jeff Fleetwood advised officials that some regional municipalities had already canceled their July 4 events, Williams said he suggested the town make no changes to its scheduled July 3 fireworks display yet.

“We’re waiting to hear from the governor’s office as to what orders, guidelines, whatever, that would be in effect for the first week of July or anytime in July,” Williams said. “Canceling the fireworks takes one phone call.”

He added that if the fireworks couldn’t be held July 3, he recommended postponing the show to coincide with the town’s reopening celebration.

“We are hoping to have a reopening celebration of some sort this year,” he said. “When that will be, whether it will be late July, sometime in August , early September, I don’t know but I would suggest as part of it we might want to consider having the fireworks then. All of this is subject to so many factors that are not within our control.”

Williams stressed that the town would rely on state guidance regarding COVID-19 and a phased-in return to normal operations.

“Our governor, and our leadership in the state, has been very reasonable and very responsible in the way they have responded to this health crisis so far Williams said. “I think if we continue to follow their guidelines we’ll be doing the right thing.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

Alternative Text

Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.