As the Fourth of July and summer celebrations approach, Town Manager Austin Faison, Public Health Director Meredith Hurley, Police Chief Terence Delehanty and Fire Chief Paul Flanagan would like to provide residents with tips to safely celebrate this year.
Town officials encourage residents to be mindful of COVID-19 and practice social distancing while celebrating the holiday. Residents should keep interactions small and avoid larger groups this Fourth of July.
All Fourth of July town-sponsored activities and events are cancelled out of an abundance of caution to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
“Although we have seen a decrease in COVID-19 transmission in Massachusetts, we are diligently monitoring severe spread in other parts of the country, which has been closely tied to increased social interactions without face coverings,” Director Hurley said. “We ask that residents continue to adhere to current public health guidelines while partaking in Fourth of July activities.”
The Winthrop Board of Health recommends the following:
Residents should not gather in groups larger than 10.
People are required to wear face coverings when outside of the house or when unable to keep a distance of 6 feet apart from one another.
People should continue to wash their hands for 20 seconds and/or use hand sanitizers.
If feeling unwell (body aches, cough, chills, fever, diarrhea, loss of smell/taste), stay home and contact a medical provider.
Avoid sharing food.
If visiting the beach, residents should not gather in groups larger than 10 and remain at least 12 feet apart from surrounding groups. They should also continue to use face coverings if in groups.
“We recognize that Winthrop is a community rooted in traditions, with the Fourth of July being at the top of the list,” Town Manager Faison said. “As we pause traditions for this year, it is important to continue our efforts to prevent an increased spread of illness in our community to be able to resume these traditions in the near future.”
It is illegal to use, possess or sell fireworks of any kind in Massachusetts, including Class C fireworks, which are sometimes falsely called “safe and sane fireworks.” Class C fireworks include sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers, spinners, cherry bombs and more. Additionally, residents are prohibited from purchasing fireworks elsewhere and transporting them into the state.
“During the summer months, fire departments across the United States see an increase in calls for fireworks related incidents,” Chief Flanagan said. “We ask that our residents protect themselves and our firefighters by refraining from illegal fireworks use this summer.”
From 2010-19, 858 major fires and explosions were reported to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS) due to the use of illegal fireworks. These incidents caused 12 civilian injuries, 40 firefighter injuries and a loss of approximately $2.9 million.
Winthrop officials recommend that residents only attend displays put on by a licensed professional to ensure safety.
“We would like to remind our community members that all town-sponsored Fourth of July events are cancelled in the best interests of public health and to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19,” Chief Delehanty said. “With town events cancelled, we strongly discourage residents from throwing their own parties. Social distancing is still an important method of prevention, and fireworks displays put on by non-licensed individuals is illegal.”
Residents should always:
Call 911 if anyone gets injured by fireworks.
Set a positive example for children by not using illegal fireworks. If kids see adults using them, they may not realize the dangers and could be encouraged to pick up matches or lighters.
Be careful around even the smallest fireworks. Sparklers burn at 1,800 degrees and could easily cause severe burns and injuries.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the misuse of fireworks can cause death and injuries including severe burns, contusions, lacerations, eye injuries and more.