Benicia cancels July 4 parade & fireworks, announces vaccine events

By Roger Straw, May 17, 2021

From City Manager Erik Upson’s weekly newsletter, May 17, 2021.

“The decision, as you will read below, to cancel the 3rd of July parade and 4th of July fireworks show was extremely difficult for all involved. After discussion with Benicia Main Street (who host the events), thoughtful consideration of the current situation, as well as the uncertainty over what will transpire in June, we collaboratively made this difficult decision. In good conscience, we simply cannot bring 20-30,000 people into close contact as close as we are to the finish line. It is our sincere hope that neighborhoods and neighbors will use this opportunity to come together, host small neighborhood events that help bring us closer together and build upon what makes Benicia so special.”

Cancellation of 4th of July Events
In an abundance of caution, the City will forgo hosting the 3rd of July parade and the fireworks show on the evening of July 4th due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The traditional Torchlight Parade on July 3rd and the Picnic in the Park and Fireworks Display on July 4th are events cosponsored by the City of Benicia and Benicia Main Street.
Unfortunately, Solano County remains one of the few counties still in the more restrictive Red Tier. Governor Newsom has announced plans to relax regulations and remove the tier system on June 15th. However, mass gatherings are currently not allowed, and the State has provided no indication that mass gatherings will be permitted with the forthcoming changes. Mass gatherings are of concern because Benicia’s Torchlight Parade and Fireworks Display each draw upwards of 20,000 spectators.
The City and Benicia Main Street have been waiting for guidance from the Governor’s Office to make a final determination but due to the need to have begun planning some time ago and the lack of specific details from the Governor’s Office, the City wants to give families time to prepare for other celebrations.
“Those communities that have announced plans to host 4th of July festivities are able to do so because they have venues, such as amphitheaters or other spaces, where attendance can be limited and controlled. In Benicia, we don’t have the facilities that would allow to limit the size of mass gatherings,” said Erik Upson, City Manager. “The safety of our community remains our top priority. We have the end of this pandemic in sight and can look forward to celebrating again as a community next year.”
Smaller neighborhood celebrations are encouraged. The City’s Parks and Community Services Department will soon announce exciting details of fun 4th of July activities to bring neighborhoods together.
COVID Vaccine Update
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has approved Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine for 12-15-year-old adolescents. Solano County Public Health has expanded vaccine eligibility to Solano County residents 12-15 years of age. Starting last Thursday, families can now schedule an appointment for their 12 to 15-year-old to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Parents must accompany their children to the vaccine clinic as consent is required.
For individuals age 16-17 years old, they can also receive receive the Pfizer vaccine and must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to their appointment, or have a parent/guardian that can contact by phone during the appointment.
Public Health has several vaccine clinics scheduled. Click here for details. For scheduling assistance, call the vaccine line at 707.784.8655. Homebound or need transportation to get to a vaccine clinic? Call the vaccine line at 707.784.8655.