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Fourth of July fireworks canceled, parade to go forward

by CRAIG NORTHRUP
Staff Writer | May 28, 2020 12:22 PM

The Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce announced this morning that the yearly fireworks event over Lake Coeur d’Alene is cancelled, a result of COVID-19’s requirement to practice social distancing. The parade and downtown festivities, however, will continue as planned.

“The Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted unanimously to cancel this year’s fireworks portion of the event to focus the organization’s energy and resources on the Coeur d’Alene community and businesses,” Chamber board chair Heidi Rogers said in a statement.

Every year, thousands cram City Beach, the beaches around North Idaho College and other lakeshore locations to watch the fireworks show. Derrell Hartwick, CEO of the Chamber, said in a Tuesday interview that maintaining public safety was his top priority. Hartwick added in today’s Chamber statement that continuing forward with the parade and festival in the park will require a community effort to help keep residents healthy.

“The Coeur d’Alene Chamber’s 4th of July Parade and Festival in the Park provides an excellent opportunity to help our local economy and honor our great country as we continue to recover from the difficulties of the past few months,” Hartwick said. “I trust our Coeur d’Alene community, and know they will adhere and respect our guidelines.”

This year’s theme for the Fourth of July parade and festival is “Reunited Coeur d’Alene.” Hartwick’s statement noted how, even though the events will fall outside of Governor Brad Little’s stage four in his plan to re-open Idaho — a stage that ends in late June — that mass gatherings can dramatically increase the spread of the coronavirus that has so far killed more than 100,000 Americans.

In a supplemental statement, Hartwick said the parade route will be altered and that the number of entries into this year’s parade will be limited, both decisions in order to help maintain social distancing.

“The State of Idaho and the [Centers for Disease Control] recommend that everyone should engage in social distancing of at least six feet and wear a cloth face mask in public places,” the statement cautioned. “We strongly suggest that older adults and persons with severe pre-existing health conditions stay home.”