Instead of backyard barbecues with friends and family and fireworks punctuating the evening sky, strict new rules by California Governor Gavin Newsom has changed the way communities will celebrate the Fourth of July.
As COVID-19 cases surge across the state, Californians are being asked to celebrate at home.
The City of La Habra had created a socially-distant Fourth of July event at La Bonita Park, which would have allowed residents to enjoy the sparkle of fireworks from their home or car.
But at 5 p.m. on July 1, the city canceled the event.
“Unfortunately, due to the Governor’s recommendation and the safety of our community, we made the difficult decision to cancel the fireworks show,” said La Habra Recreation Manager David DeLeon.
The City of La Habra will hold its flyover featuring a C-47 World War II transport plane and two smaller planes roaring over the city from the southwest at around 2:30 p.m. The flyover is a collaboration between the cities of La Habra, Orange, and Buena Park and a partnership with Lion Air Museum and Air Combat USA.
In Pasadena, the City’s popular Americafest held every year at the Rose Bowl was cancelled due to the pandemic, but they city is instead presenting the event virtually on the Fourth of July. On Saturday night, fireworks will be going off at the Rose Bowl, but the public is being asked to stay home and watch online.
The Pasadena Police Department, which is grappling with a 500 percent increase in illegal firework use, is partnering with firefighters for special firework enforcement patrols every day through the Fourth of July holiday.
In the City of Tustin, the City had planned a fireworks show at Tustin High School for residents to view from their homes or by livestream video, but that was canceled following the governor’s announcement as well.
Residents can go to Tustin4thofJuly.com on July 4 to hear music and view patriotic messages from the Tustin City Council, community representatives, American Legion Post 227 and local veterans.
“We are disappointed to announce that due to the alarming increase of COVID-19 cases and the Governor’s recommendation, the live-stream fireworks display component of the City of Tustin’s 4th of July celebration will not take place this year,” Mayor Dr. Allan Bernstein wrote in a statement. “We hope that everyone in Tustin enjoys a safe and meaningful Independence Day.”
Santa Ana residents typically enjoy the City’s Fourth of July celebration, which includes live music, family activities and a firework finale at Centennial Park, but that has also been canceled.
Safe and Sane fireworks are permitted in Santa Ana and can be used within the city limits from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 2 and 3 and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 4.
Also, in Westminster Safe and Sane fireworks are legal in and can be discharged from 10 a.m. to 9p.m. on July 4 only. Fireworks can be purchased from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. July 2 and 3 and from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. July 4 in Westminster.
In Anaheim, the home of Disneyland and neighbor to Knott’s Berry Farm, the City will remain quiet as amusement parks remain closed and city events canceled.
In Anaheim Hills, its annual Fourth of July celebration for the last 31 years was canceled.
“We thought long and hard if there was any way possible to retain at least a portion of the activities – especially the parade and fireworks. Like all of you, we long to return to normalcy and hoped to celebrating freedom with our neighbors,” the Anaheim Hills Community Council said in a written statement. “At the end of the day, we have made the difficult decision considering the COVID-19 pandemic. The safety of our community is something we do not take lightly.”
Residents can still purchase safe and sane fireworks on July 4 and can be purchased at 15 locations around the city. No fireworks are allowed in east Anaheim. For information, go to Anaheim.net/fireworks.
Behind the Badge reporter Lou Ponsi contributed to this story.