The mayor of Lancaster says he plans to go forward with his city’s Fourth of July fireworks show despite a countywide ban put in place to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Mayor R. Rex Parris cited the safety of Lancaster as one reason that the city should be allowed to hold a display.
The latest figures from the L.A. County Department of Public Health show the city has recorded 1,159 cases of the novel coronavirus, with 19 deaths.
“When you look around here, this city is the safest city in Los Angeles County. If you look at the number of hospital admissions and our death rate … we are the safest city,” Mayor R. Rex Parris told KTLA.
“And we’re the safest city because of these,” he continued, touching his facial covering. “You come into this city without one, you’re going to get a citation. We are draconian about it. The well-being of our citizens is more important to us than anything else.”
The mayor says the display won’t be a danger to the public as long as viewers remain in their vehicles or if they wear a mask when outside one.
“We absolutely know, wear your mask, wash your hands, don’t touch your face and nobody needs to die. And nobody needs to shut down America,” he said.
Residents KTLA spoke with were largely supportive of the mayor’s actions.
“I’m for it. I feel like they should just let it happen. It’s one show that happens once a year,” Lexxiss Clayton said. “They’ve been popping fireworks anyway everywhere else here, so one show is not going to hurt.”
It’s still unclear where exactly the display will take place. The mayor is set to announce the location on Facebook 30 minutes to an hour before the show, which is slated to start at 9 p.m.
Asked about Lancaster’s decision to go through with the firework display, L.A. County’s Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Wednesday said: “We’ve issued a health officer order, we do ask that everyone adhere to it. We particularly asked that our elected officials help model what I know are very difficult decisions that need to get made as a city level, but also, we need to model for all of our family members and our households that these are difficult times, we do have to make some significant changes.”
The health director urged officials and residents alike to continue to work together to curb the spread of the virus, saying there’s “so much more infection in our county circulating right now than there was even a week ago.”
Christina Pascucci reports for the KTLA 5 Morning News on July 3, 2020.