After being canceled last year because of COVID-19, Rehoboth Beach will be having its July 4 fireworks this year. The city announced May 14 the display will launch at roughly 9:30 p.m., Saturday, July 3.
“We’re really excited that the country is opening back up and that we are able to celebrate with our annual fireworks display,” said City Manager Sharon Lynn, in a prepared statement. “It’s been a challenging year-and-a-half, and like everyone else, we’re eager to have a little fun and enjoy the kind of summer activities that Rehoboth Beach is so well known for. We are confident that we can have a safe fireworks display this year, and delighted that Rehoboth Beach is a happy place for so many. We look forward to a great summer.”
The announced return of the fireworks came roughly 72 hours after Lynn recommended to city commissioners the fireworks be canceled again. During a special meeting May 11, Lynn said it would be nearly impossible to meet the guidelines required for events larger than 250 people. At the same meeting, she said Police Chief Keith Banks and Lt. Jamie Riddle also thought it was in the best interest of the city to not hold the fireworks.
Lynn said much thought went into the decision to hold the fireworks and that police will be able to adequatley staff and provide for a safe event.
“Factors included recent CDC relaxation of COVID guidelines, especially concerning mask wearing and gatherings, as well as correspondence with other municipalities that also decided to hold fireworks displays,” said Lynn, in an email May 16.
Lynn said Banks and Riddle are confident the police department, with the assistance of their usual partners, will be able to adequately staff and provide for a safe event.
Mayor Stan Mills said he agrees with the decision.
“We will be opening up the city and expect a great number of happy visitors. We want to provide the safest, friendliest, and most festive summer season, and that includes fireworks that will celebrate the birth of our nation,” said Mills, in an email May 16.
In the press release announcing the return, the city said the state has approved the city’s planned COVID-19 safety precautions, which include hand-sanitizing stations, mandating masks for those who are unvaccinated and encouraging social distancing between groups.
Lynn said hand sanitizing stations will be distributed throughout the city, especially in densely populated areas. The city is looking into portable toilets and separate hand-washing stations as well, she said.
As for enforcing the wearing of masks, Lynn said the city will have signage placed to alert people to the guidelines for safety. However, much will be self-regulated and on the honor system, she said.
Firework festivities include musical sets performed by The Funsters at the Bandstand beginning at 8 p.m., and again after the fireworks display.
City hall reopening to public June 1
In addition to announcing the return of the fireworks, the city announced city hall will reopen to the public, and that all board, commission and committee meetings will be in person and live streamed, beginning Tuesday, June 1.
The city is encouraging public attendance. Hand-washing stations will be made available, and masks will be required for individuals who are not vaccinated.
In email May 16, Mayor Stan Mills said logistics are being discussed related to seating limitations and there will be guidelines provided to attendees.
“I am looking forward to seeing our constituents in person again and not just hearing their voices,” said Mills, who has only conducted online meetings since taking over as mayor.
Mills said city staff was working on providing public comment options to members of the public watching the livestream.
For more information on the fireworks and the reopening of city hall, call the city’s communication department at 302-227-6181.
Editor’s note: This story was updated May 17 to include more information.