New Year fireworks threat

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Two of the world’s most famous fireworks displays are under threat over fears the events could spark a huge new coronavirus outbreak.

In Sydney around a million people gather on the city’s iconic foreshore every year to watch the 12-minute fireworks display staged at the Sydney Opera House and on Harbour Bridge.

In Sydney around a million people gather on the city’s iconic foreshore every year to watch the 12-minute fireworks display staged at the Sydney Opera House and on Harbour Bridge.

It’s the same story in London where hundreds of thousands watch the display on the Thames. Organisers are currently reviewing whether this year’s display can take place safely.

With many traditional Bonfire Night fireworks displays also facing cancellation, fireworks companies including Fantastic Fireworks are stocking up on fireworks for sale to the public.

Nigel Jackson, of BrightStar Fireworks, one of the UK’s leading fireworks wholesalers, points to the big spike in the sale of retail fireworks in the United States where thousands of July 4th displays were cancelled.

‘The demand to buy fireworks from shops went through the roof” he said.

‘I am predicting that we will see a similar thing happen here, both for Bonfire Night and New Year’s Eve fireworks.’

This year’s Sydney show narrowly avoided being scrapped owing to a state-wide fire ban amid catastrophic bushfires, but now the 2021 event could be cancelled as Coronavirus continues to spread.

Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore was quoted as saying it ‘may not be responsible’ for the event to go ahead, but said it was too soon to call it off.

She said the decision is ultimately down to NSW Health to determine whether the event can be held safely.

‘It would be incredibly sad if Sydney New Year’s Eve cannot go ahead, but that is a real possibility we’re facing,’ she said.’

The clock is ticking and the longer the City of Sydney leaves it, the harder it will be for us all to deliver a safe event,’ North Sydney mayor Jilly Gibson told The Sydney Morning Herald.

While North Sydney Council does not host its own fireworks, it helps control the crowds that gather to watch the harbour display.

Ms Gibson acknowledged Ms Moore’s reluctance to cancel the show more than four months in advance, but added the council needs time to plan a way of manage the event in a safe way.

Last week, NSW tourism minister Stuart Ayres said the event should go ahead ‘after such a putrid 2020’. 

‘I would love to see fireworks on the Harbour Bridge to celebrate 2021,’ Mr Ayres told reporters.

‘I think everyone’s just had a pretty sh***y 2020 and having a fantastic celebration of starting a new year is probably going to out a smile on people’s faces.’

He warned it wouldn’t be a traditional New Year’s Eve celebration and will be without the one million revellers that pack the city’s harbour foreshore.

‘But if we get an opportunity to celebrate a new year, put 2020 behind us and do so on the world stage, that’s got to be a good thing, doesn’t it?’ Mr Ayres said.

‘It’s been a c**p 2020. We all know what’s in been like. Bring on 2021. Let’s have some fireworks to celebrate the end of this year and the start of a new one.’ 

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