NEWINGTON - The Life. Be In It. Extravaganza fireworks display has been postponed again, this time because of the rise of covid-19 cases in Newington.
The Newington Parks and Recreation department posted on their Facebook page Monday afternoon that the fireworks display that was originally postponed to Friday would be postponed again, this time indefinitely.
“Due to the rise in COVID-19 recorded cases, this Friday’s Life. Be in it. Extravaganza Fireworks display has been postponed indefinitely. The Newington Parks and Recreation Department will reschedule the fireworks display when it is safe to do so,” the Facebook post said.
The fireworks display was supposed to take place on July 17, the last day of the Life. Be In It. Extravaganza, but it was postponed to Aug. 6 because of severe weather and field conditions.
Parks and Recreation Superintendent Bill DeMaio said 20,000 to 30,000 people were expected to attend the fireworks display. He worried the display could have been a superspreader event, especially now that the CDC has said that the Delta variant of covid-19 is as contagious as chickenpox and vaccinated people can spread it.
“We don’t want to make the situation for residents worse,” DeMaio said.
DeMaio said that while some similar outdoor events could be safe with social distancing, he did not think there was any way to enforce social distancing with the amount of people expected to attend.
Town manager Keith Chapman made the decision to postpone the event in conjunction with the Parks and Recreation Department and with the Central Connecticut Health District. The CCHD director of health, Charles Brown, said he recommended they postpone the fireworks display because he felt it was too risky due to the nature of the event.
“At this time, Newington is seeing a steady increase in cases, and these types of events draw people who are unfortunately unvaccinated. The risk is too high to go forward,” Brown said
Between July 11 and July 24, Newington had 9.8 cases per 100,000 residents, according to data from the Connecticut Department of Public Health. This rate puts Newington just under the orange category of transmission, in which the DPH recommends town governments scale back events. Brown said he believes Newington could reach the orange category by Thursday.
Mayor Beth DelBuono said she feels cancelling the event was the right thing to do.
“Postponing the fireworks was certainly a difficult decision. I feel strongly that our town manager has made the right decision,” DelBuono said. “We need to worry about the safety of our community first and foremost.”
The Parks and Recreation department will wait until Newington is back in the gray category of transmission to reschedule the fireworks display, DeMaio said. They are considering combining it with the Night of Lights event in December if transmission has slowed by then.