Dover cancels Fourth of July Celebration due to COVID-19

DOVER – Boom! Goes yet another event by the wayside due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The city of Dover’s Fourth of July celebration has been postponed for this summer due to concerns with social distancing to help to stem the spread of COVID -19, along with difficulties in being able to generate donations and sponsors for the fireworks themselves with so many small businesses closed and employees out of work.

However, Dover Mayor Robinson Christiansen, who also chairs the Dover Fourth of July Celebration Committee, said there will eventually be a celebration – one that will celebrate not only the country, but the many other heroes who have risen to the healthcare challenges of 2020.

“Well, as can be expected, I’m really disappointed, because I’m sort of a Yankee Doodle guy,” Mayor Christiansen said. “Having said that, as mayor I promise when this is all over and we can gather safely we are going to have one hell of a celebration honoring all of our heroes that have brought us through this nightmare.

“We will honor doctors, nurses, medical support staff, police officers, firefighters, EMS personnel, paramedics, store clerks, teachers, daycare personnel, city workers, pastors, and anyone else I may have forgotten … and lastly, but by no means the least, we will celebrate the American spirit of our citizens young and old for the bravery and commitment to keep our country strong.”

Justin Strickland said the decision to call off this year’s Fourth of July celebration was made on Friday during a call with the Fourth of July Celebration Committee.

“I know we have a good bit of time before July 4th, but unfortunately, with everything going on it looks like we are at least two months away from everything being somewhat normal,” said Mr. Strickland. “The fact that even after the (recovery) phases are completed there is talk about distancing and crowd restrictions (that) make it very difficult to plan for an event of this magnitude.”

Mr. Strickland said he learned during the committee meetings that Dover’s Fourth of July Celebration is put on mostly through fundraising. That is proving to be a difficult challenge when businesses and individuals are struggling.

“While the 4th of July (Celebration) will be canceled, there are talks going on about the possibility of an event on or after Labor Day,” he said. “They would like to have an event that would celebrate our independence, as well as those front-line workers, businesses and everyone else as we have all been affected by this. While a lot of folks think it is a great idea as it could be the first big ‘get out of your house event of 2020,’ there is still a long way to go.”

The city of Dover’s Fourth of July Celebration is one that seems to expand year after year – both in popularity and a wide-array of things to do.

It now serves as a day-long celebration of Dover’s place in history, along with a parade and music before the fireworks are launched just after dusk over Legislative Mall.

“This is where America started,” Mayor Christiansen said. “They wrote the paperwork in Philadelphia certainly and they signed it, but if it weren’t for Caesar Rodney riding to Philadelphia and breaking the tie, we would have never sent the Declaration of Independence to King George.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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