No fireworks this year

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - There will be no fireworks this year as the assembly failed to pass an ordinance that would have required spectators, outside watching the show, to wear face masks.

    The decision reverses a vote taken last week.

    The motion failed 5-4.  Since it was considered an emergency ordinance, six votes would have been required for passage.

    The supporters of the fireworks were Mayor Beth Weldon and assembly members Hale, Edwardson and Bryson.

    The ordinance would have allowed the July 4th fireworks and would require people to wear a face covering when they are outside in a public location watching the fireworks on the Gastineau Channel.  Exemptions would be allowed for children under two and people with disabilities.

    Violators would be subject to a $25 fine.  People who stay in vehicles would not be required to wear a mask.

    Most residents who spoke at the hearing were opposed due to public health concerns.  Others maintain a face mask requirement couldn't be enforced.

    Grace Lee said face masks should be required.  She said there is no room for selfishness in Juneau.  "This isn't about civil liberties.  Remember mask it or the casket."

    Assembly member Wade Bryson said he thinks citizens want this.  He predicted a large increase in personal use fireworks if the community display is canceled.

    Assembly member Loren Jones said he doesn't think most of the people want fireworks. He said personal use fireworks will go on regardless if a community show happens or not.

    Assembly member Michelle Bonnet Hale said if the community wears masks the fireworks show should go on.  She said a live stream of the fireworks would also reduce the amount of spectators.

    She said the community thought last weeks vote meant the fireworks show would happen.

    Assembly member Rob Edwardson said he thought personal use fireworks in residential areas is on decline with more fireworks out the road at campsites and more remote areas.

    "People outside wearing masks are relatively safe.  Its safe if everybody drives between the lines," he added.

    Assembly member Alicia Hughes Skandijs said encouraging people to attend the fireworks does not make sense because the CBJ is discouraging people to attend mass gatherings.

    Deputy Mayor Maria Gladziszewski changed her vote in support last week to oppose the ordinance.  She mentioned the public health concerns and how she would feel if there were a spike in cases in the next few weeks.




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