This file photo from July 4, 2016, shows the city’s Fourth of July fireworks display over Juneau. (Micheal Penn | Juneau Empire File)

This file photo from July 4, 2016, shows the city’s Fourth of July fireworks display over Juneau. (Micheal Penn | Juneau Empire File)

Fourth of July fireworks get go-ahead

Assembly votes to hold display despite COVID concerns

The City and Borough of Juneau Assembly Committee of the Whole voted Monday to go ahead with the city’s Fourth of July fireworks display downtown this year.

Assembly members voted 5-4 during a virtual meeting to have the display, with some members raising concerns about holding events which draw large crowds. Mayor Beth Weldon and Assembly members Wade Bryson, Michelle Bonnet Hale, Rob Edwardson and Maria Gladziszewski voted for the display. Assembly members Carole Triem, Alicia Hughes-Skandijs, Greg Smith and Loren Jones voted against it.

Next week, the Assembly will consider a mandate requiring cloth face coverings while in public as cases of COVID-19 have been on the rise in Southeast Alaska.

Hale said she supported the display but would not be personally attending because of health concerns. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advise that prolonged contact and the number of people encountered increase the risk of public gathering .

“I think a lot of people could really use some relief right now,” Hale said.

Parades for downtown Juneau and Douglas have already been canceled. The fireworks display is still scheduled for 11:59 p.m. July 3.

There will also be an option for people who want to purchase fireworks.

Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska President Richard Chalyee Éesh Peterson posted on Facebook Tuesday that Tlingit & Haida would be selling fireworks at its property up Fish Creek Road on the way to Eaglecrest Ski Area.

“It was just something I thought we should do,” Peterson said in an interview.

Even though people can buy fireworks, Peterson said he hoped people would be safe and respectful when using them.

“Be respectful and mindful of your neighbors,” Peterson said. “We don’t want to see a bunch of trash lying around the next day.”

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