Weeks after the announcement that Coeur d’Alene’s annual fireworks show would be canceled, officials have announced there will be no Independence Day parade and festival due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases.
Kootenai County saw its second-largest single day jump in coronavirus cases Thursday, adding 17 confirmed cases.
Past years’ parades and fireworks shows have drawn thousands of guests from out of town, which could present a risk to Coeur d’Alene residents as the virus spreads.
The Spokane Regional Health District reported 41 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee warned, “Spokane is right on the verge of a very dire situation because of this pandemic.”
Chamber of Commerce members met with the city of Coeur d’Alene, the Panhandle Health District and the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department about the area’s surge in coronavirus cases and unanimously decided to cancel, according to Thursday’s news release.
The Coeur d’Alene board of directors said their priority is keeping local businesses open, and holding the festival could lead to further spikes in COVID-19 cases that could mean rolling back into business closures.
All parade applicants and vendors will receive a full refund from the chamber, according to the release.
“I think they’ve made the right call,” said Mike Kennedy, local business owner and former Coeur d’Alene councilman. “To be honest, we know the numbers are really spiking hard right now. The more people can follow sound science, the better.”
Kennedy’s business is a local internet provider so he won’t be directly affected by losing a yearly influx of shoppers, but he empathizes with business owners who will miss that boost.
“We need to have the economy back as soon as possible, but we have to prioritize peoples’ health,” Kennedy said. “There’s no easy answer and nobody wanted this.”
The news comes about a month after the city announced the fireworks show would be canceled.
Heidi Rogers, chair of the chamber’s board of directors, said in a news release then that the chamber canceled the show to “focus all of our organization’s energy and resources to provide a family friendly parade for our Coeur d’Alene community and businesses.”
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