Fireworks stands see rise in sales amid canceled 4th of July festivals

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin-area fireworks stands are seeing a rise in “first-time-buyers” amid the increase in coronavirus cases, and canceled Fourth of July celebrations.

Travis County Judge Samuel T. Biscoe sent a letter to Travis County mayors and city leaders earlier this week urging them to cancel Fourth of July celebrating, saying the regional hospital system has surpassed 70% capacity.

“For these reasons, I suggest all local governments cancel publicly sponsored events and close public spaces in advance of the 4th of July weekend in order to discourage social gatherings and therefore discourage spread of COVID-19. We simply cannot afford missteps at this stage which could exacerbate the risk of overwhelming our healthcare system. My deepest regret in bringing this news to our partnership. Please share what adaptations you may be making to find new ways to serve and celebrate with your constituents,” Biscoe wrote.

Neill Williams operates a Lakeway American fireworks stand. He says all of the stands are doing well, and 2020 is projected to be a record year.

Neill Williamson sells fireworks at the Lakeway American Fireworks stand.

“I’m seeing for my stand, a lot of the smaller items go. We’re seeing a lot of first-time buyers,” Williams said. “They’ve never seen all of this before. Their eyes light up — it’s like the first time you walk into a car dealership.”

The City of Lakeway announced Tuesday that its show is canceled. This came after Judge Biscoe’s letter to City mayors.

“Additionally, per the County’s recommendations, all public city parks will close starting at 8 p.m. Thursday, and will plan to re-open Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to develop rapidly. Please keep an eye on our website for more important updates, ” the City of Lakeway said in a June 30 release.

In Pflugerville, the Pfirecracker Pfestival at Typhoon Texas is a go.

“We have completely encouraged guest coming in to stay in their cars,” said Typhoon Texas General Manager, Ty Weitzel. “I want to communicate to the public that we are doing everything we can to create a healthy, safe and fun experience on July 4.”

Reservations at the park have already filled up, because they’re keeping crowds under 50% capacity. Others can watch the show from the parking lots at Hendrickson High School, Stone Hill Center and Costco.

In Williamson County, the City of Leander is still planning its celebration, but asking people to stay in their cars. There are nearly 300 parking spots which will have an empty space in between cars. Some community members are arguing that show must not go on.

“With coronavirus cases going up in Williamson County, I don’t think its a smart idea to gather at least 1,500 people together for a party,” said a Leander resident KXAN spoke with who requested to remain anonymous. “Who is going to stay in their cars in the middle of the afternoon on a hot day?”

The same goes for Kyle, south of Austin, where they’re launching a show from the Plum Creek Golf Course for surrounding parking lots.

The Fourth of July concert and fireworks show at the Dell Diamond is still on. Granger Smith and Earl Dibbles Jr. will be performing followed by the fireworks show.

There are some safety procedures in pace to help people celebrate safely. Everyone 10 and older must wear a mask in compliance with the City of Round Rock’s mask ordinance. Guests may remove their masks when eating, drinking or sitting in their ticketed seat or pod. Capacity is limited to less than 25% to make sure people remain 6 feet apart.

In response to the rapidly rising case counts of COVID-19 in Williamson County and the City of Taylor, Mayor Brandt Rydell issued an executive order canceling the planned Independence Day vehicle parade and fireworks display

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