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There were plenty of boats — and fireworks —in Alamitos Bay for the 2017 Big Bang on the Bay show.

City officials say that a permit has not been issued to allow the annual July 3 Big Bang on the Bay fireworks show over Alamitos Bay.

That permit hasn't been denied, either.

The uncertainty has been caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting restrictions on gatherings. While California's economy is gradually reopening, Gov. Gavin Newsom's ban on large gatherings remains in place.

"The governor's order does not allow for gatherings so we currently cannot issue a permit for this event," City Manager Tom Modica said in an email. "We have not definitively said no to this event or any other events. But they are not currently allowed under the health order."

John Morris, managing partner at Boathouse on the Bay, has organized the Big Bang on the Bay since 2012. Morris and friends put on a huge block party on the waterfront with flyovers, live music, a barbecue and more.

The event has been on July 3 to separate it from July 4 fireworks shows. The associated street party has become a large fundraiser for various Long Beach nonprofits.

That street party was canceled last month. But Morris has been holding out hope that the fireworks show could go forward.

"We have everything in place," Morris said via email. The "Pyro tech needs a minimum of four days, June 29, notice. So we will be on standby like everyone else. (We're) keeping our fingers crossed."

Gov. Newsom, Los Angeles County and the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department all have been gradually easing restrictions to restart the economy. Last weekend, Long Beach's beaches and beach parking lots were reopened for all activity as long as social distancing guidelines were followed. This Friday, state restrictions on nail salons and tattoo parlors will be lifted — although neither LA County nor Long Beach have taken that step.

"We don't want to cancel anything on the city's end," said Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price, whose district includes Alamitos Bay. "We don't want to preclude something if the state's going to allow us to open up."

Modica said much the same thing.

"We are waiting to see if that (restriction) might change, and then what our health director will decide on whether or not we should move forward," he wrote. "Los Angeles County is in the same position to my knowledge. We will continue to evaluate all Fourth of July activities over the coming two weeks and see if State guidance changes." 


Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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