Postponements, cancelations and adjustments: Celebrating Independence Day during a pandemic

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Freedom just isn’t what it used to be during COVID-19 ⁠— although, it doesn’t mean residents have to completely toss any 4th of July fun in order to stay safe.

Major changes have been instituted to curb the virus’ spread, including many rearrangements to the annual fireworks schedule. Here is what both Duval and St. Johns County can expect celebrations to look like for July 4.

Both the city of St. Augustine and Jacksonville Beach voted to postpone the firework show this year, with Jacksonville Beach opting to have an extra-explosive New Year’s Eve. St. Augustine has yet to announce the new date for their fireworks show, saying they are waiting to follow the progression of the pandemic before securing a specific date.

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced that rather than cancel or postpone, Jacksonville is “looking forward to producing an experience that is bigger, better and safer." This includes new firework display locations in the hopes of producing smaller, more dispersed crowds. Six fireworks celebrations will take place at 9:45 p.m. across Jacksonville.

The locations include:

  • Downtown Jacksonville
  • Johns Town Center Mall
  • Northside: FSCJ North Campus
  • Southside: The Avenues Mall
  • Westside: Normandy/Lem Merrett Park
  • Arlington: Ed Austin Regional Park

For those traveling for the show, be aware the easternmost northbound lane on the Acosta Bridge will be closed from noon to midnight on July 4. The Acosta Bridge will fully close at 9:15 p.m. and will open once all firework trailers and debris are cleared. The Main Street Bridge will be closed from 9:15-10:15 p.m. Attendees can expect all other bridges will be open.

Additionally, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimps are hosting a pre-Fourth party on July 3 at the ballpark, including fireworks and a baseball themed movie. The “socially-distanced event” is capped at 2,000 attendees and starts at 7:30 p.m., with the firework display beginning at 9:15 p.m.

For those interested in staying home this Independence Day, 97.9 KISS FM, WJXT and PRI Productions will be airing “Red, White and Boom” on WJXT Channel 4 — or, if a good parking spot permits — attendees can tune into 97.9 KISS-FM and 99.1 WQIK to listen to synchronized music from their vehicles thanks to iHeart Media.

Photo provided by the City of Jacksonville

COVID-19 puts a twist on traditional Independence Day celebrations as cases surge in North Florida.

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