Coralville converts fireworks to drive-in event as pandemic continues
CORALVILLE, Iowa (KCRG) - Celebrations for this year’s Independence Day will likely look a bit different than most years, with cities across eastern Iowa having to make decisions if they would still host or modify fireworks, parades and other annual traditions, given the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The annual 4thFest celebration in Coralville is typically the city’s largest event of the year. This year, the city’s staff had to give extra thought toward the community’s safety. They decided there would be no way to properly socially distance during the parade and concerts, so those events are canceled.
But the fireworks are still on.
“It would almost be like the Fourth of July wouldn’t occur if we didn’t have the fireworks,” Mayor John Lundell said. “They’ll be bigger and better than ever. They actually purchased a few extra ones.”
There are some changes, though, in order to keep visitors safe from the virus. The event will be held at the Coralville Youth Sports Complex, and people must stay six to 10 feet apart. Restrooms and concessions will not be available.
”It’s kind of like a drive-in theater. You pull in and stay in your car if you want or come out,” Lundell said.
The mayor also encourages people to wear face coverings if they are attending the show with friends or extended family, which area health experts say is a good practice in any situation right now.
“Do all the precautions you would take around strangers because these people are not individuals they have had close contact with, so there is the possibility of transmitting the virus from asymptomatic people,” Dr. Stephen Scheckel, from Mercy Iowa City, said.
Scheckel said members of the community are anxious to have events return to normal, but now isn’t the time. COVID-19 cases are increasing among a new age group.
”It’s pretty dramatic between 18 to 25 but also up to 40 years old,” Scheckel said.
Scheckel is encouraging people to stay safe while celebrating, and perhaps consider staying home to celebrate this year. In Coralville, the city also wants people to have this option by providing a livestream on Facebook of the fireworks event.
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