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COVID puts damper on Kaua‘i fireworks shows

LIHU‘E — With the COVID-19 pandemic dragging on into its 28th month, the island’s Fourth of July celebrations will again be muted as a result.

The U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility is returning with its first fireworks show since the onset of the pandemic. But due to COVID concerns, it will only be open to U.S. Department of Defense ID cardholders and their guests.

“It is my hope and intent to have a public event in 2023,” said PMRF Commanding Officer Capt. Brett Stevenson. “COVID is still a factor, and in the past our event has attracted 7,000 or more attendees. Better to limit our numbers this year and hope for a full event next year,” he added.

Guests of DoD cardholders must arrive in the vehicle with their sponsors. Separate vehicles are not permitted for sponsored guests. The event is cash-only for those attending.

The past two years, PMRF has only hosted small gatherings with very limited access and no fireworks.

“I appreciate our relationship with the community and look forward to better times and future opportunities to share in this celebration,” Stevenson added.

The annual Kaua‘i Hospice fundraiser Concert In the Sky at Vindiha Stadium in Lihu‘e will not occur this year, with organizers saying they hope to return again next year.

“We absolutely miss celebrating the 4th of July with all of you, and we wish you a wonderful holiday,” organizers said in a release.

COVID remains a force on the island, with The Garden Island reporting last week that there had been four COVID-19 deaths in the previous month. While COVID case counts are declining from May highs, they remain elevated, with an average of 46 a day last week and a test positivity rate of 23%.

Kaua‘i Fire Deparatment officials reminded the public this week of restrictions on personal fireworks.

“It is illegal to set fireworks on public property, including streets, sidewalks or parks,” said KFD Fire Prevention Capt. Jeremie Makepa. “In addition, removing the powder or pyrotechnic contents from any firework is prohibited.”

Personal fireworks and firecrackers can be ignited on private property between 1 p.m. and 9 p.m. on July 4. Aerial luminaries, also known as flying lanterns or flying luminaries, are prohibited in the state.

Because there are no firecracker vendors for the July 4 holiday, no permits will be issued, and only licensed pyro-technicians with proper permits are authorized to ignite aerial fireworks, the KFD said in a press release.

Snakes, sparklers, fountains, cylindrical or cone fountains, whistles, toy smoke devices, wheels and ground spinners and other similar products are classified as fireworks, though no permits are required to purchase or use them.

The Fire Prevention Bureau advises everyone to exercise caution when igniting fireworks, follow listed instructions and ensure that children are under adult supervision at all times.

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Guthrie Scrimgeour, reporter, can be reached at 647-0329 or gscrimgeour@thegardenisland.com.
Source: The Garden Island

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