It’ll be a sparse summer for community events in Lathrop this year.
But people will still get have their do-it-yourself fireworks during the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday the Lathrop City Council approved a cancellation list that included every major community gathering event during the summer months including the end of June celebration Lathrop’s incorporation as a city including an aerial fireworks display. They opted to pull the sale of safe-and-sane fireworks from the final list before approval – a reflection of seemingly universal consensus amongst the council that if done safely and properly, should be something that families can enjoy together.
“Our kids have lost a lot of everything – social, school friends,” Councilwoman Jennifer Torres-O’Callaghan said. “This is something that is small enough, usually, on my block, and I think that we should consider leaving it and allowing it.
“I think that it’s something that should stay on if we’re going to be staying home with our families.”
According to the staff report prepared for the council in advance of Monday’s meeting, the majority of the events planned over the course of the summer would technically be in violation of the state’s established Social Distancing Guidelines – which recommend the cancellation or postponement of events where more than 10 people will be gathered.
That means that the city’s Memorial Day event, Movies in the Park, Father’s Day event, the annual Lathrop Anniversary Celebration, Concerts in the Park, Family Fun Nights, Grandparent’s Day, and Comedy Under the Stars will all not be held during the 2020 calendar year.
Efforts are currently underway to broadcast the Memorial Day event online so that the community can still see and participate in what has been a major community event in Lathrop over the years while the others are scheduled to be called off altogether.
The sale of safe-and-sane fireworks was originally on the list of things to be cancelled, but the council’s recommendation to save those centered on the idea that families should have something fun to do the celebrate the holiday – especially if fireworks shows are not going to be held – and non-profits shouldn’t have to go without the massive boon to their fundraising that the booths provide.
Plans are currently in the works to draft up a letter with guidelines that will be distributed to the community recommending steps that people take when using safe-and-sane fireworks to maintain safe distancing standards. Even with the letter, Lathrop City Manager Steve Salvatore said, law enforcement will likely have a harder time enforcing the rules because of the dynamics involved with gatherings.
“We can mail a request that they not gather in large numbers, but obviously we can’t make people do that,” Salvatore said. “Enforcement is going to be difficult because if they’re gathered, they’re usually drinking and eating and having a good time and it’s hard for LPS (Lathrop Police Services) to pull up on that and say they have to break it up.
“Enforcement is going to be more difficult now because we’re not just enforcing legal fireworks but enforcing people’s behaviors.”
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.