WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — Waterbury’s fireworks show, celebrating America’s birthday, will still go on tonight — but with some changes this year because of COVID-19.
The Brass City will still launch the fireworks from atop Holy Land, which towers over Waterbury. But, the mayor’s office has taken steps to adhere to state and CDC safety guidelines by canceling a big part of the celebration.
Every year, the city holds a Foodtruck Festival in the parking of The Brass Mill Center Mall, which is directly below the mountain Holy Land rests on. Several thousand people turned out last year in the parking lot to catch spectacular views of the fireworks and to grab bites at the many food trucks lined up to grab some red, white, and blue and green in terms of profits.
That won’t happen this year because the city decided to shut it down because of the virus that has spread and hit Waterbury hard.
“There will be nothing going on in the Brass Mill Mall parking lot,” said Mack DeMac, the Chief of Staff for Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary. “In fact, it will be blocked to ensure that folks adhere to social distancing and are able to keep themselves, their families, and their friends safe.”
Waterbury residents News 8 spoke with Thursday are sad to see that part of the festivities go, but they understand why and agree with the decision.
“Oh it’s enormous, a lot of people here are gonna miss it,” said Linda Sinkler, of Waterbury. “I think health trumps everything. You have to be careful. We can’t have spikes again in the coronavirus.”
“It’s too many people in one place,” said Penny Groves, also of Waterbury. “The virus is still spreading.”
The fireworks will launch from atop Holy Land again on July 5 at 9:15 p.m. by Pyrotechnico, the same company that did it last year.
The mayor’s office got the word out to Waterbury residents that they should not pack any parking lots to watch them. Rather, they’ve been trying to convince people to watch them from their own homes, since Holy Land towers over the city, offering good views from many neighborhoods.
They also warn that some of the other traditional viewing spots will not be available this time.
“Unfortunately, the city ramp garages will also be shut down,” DeMac said. “That will not be a viewing location so we encourage Waterbury residents and non-residents alike if they’re here in the city of Waterbury please enjoy the holiday safely with friends and family in the privacy of homes or driveways.”
In other words, the new normal also applies to fireworks watching.