HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Hawaii County has canceled all sponsored Independence Day festivities because of concerns about spreading the coronavirus among thousands of attendees, officials said.
Mayor Harry Kim said Tuesday that the county’s annual July 4 events cannot be safely conducted without risking an additional outbreak of of COVID-19, The Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported Wednesday.
County-sponsored July 4 events include the Hilo Bay Blast, which provides a day of activities around Hilo Bayfront culminating in a public fireworks display.
The cancellation was the “necessary thing to do,” Kim said.
“Nobody wanted to have to do this,” Kim said. “But literally thousands of people go to the Bayfront for these events. There’s no way we can ensure that everything will be safe by next month.”
Other cancelled Big Island holiday events include the Kailua-Kona Fourth of July parade and fireworks and the Parker Ranch Fourth of July rodeo and horse races in Waimea.
Kim hopes some of the events can be rescheduled for later in the year when concerns about the spread of the virus have eased.
“We’ll have a lot to celebrate when this is over,” Kim said.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death. The vast majority of people recover.