The city has canceled the annual Freedom Over Texas event they hold every year in downtown Houston due to concerns about the spread of COVID-19. This was not unexpected given the state order mandating no crowds larger than 100. Freedom draws thousands of Independence Day revelers each year.
But, the city is keeping the fireworks display. They just want you to watch it from a safe (social) distance.
"The city of Houston will celebrate freedom this year, but out of an abundance of caution during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want people to stay home and watch the fireworks," said Mayor Sylvester Turner via a press release. In addition to the ability to watch on TV and the internet, this year's fireworks promise to go higher than normal — up to 800 feet — so they will be viewable from a much greater distance.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
As a result, many of the streets in and around downtown will be closed on Saturday. This includes Allen Parkway between Taft and Bagby, Memorial Drive between Shepherd and Bagby, the Sabine Street Bridge and entrance ramps into downtown from Interstate 45.
The best views of the fireworks downtown each year are typically from areas in and around Buffalo Bayou Park. You can still access it via walking and biking, but no doubt police will be out to disperse larger crowds given the city's recent dramatic rise in COVID-19 cases since Memorial Day and ICU facilities at local hospitals going over 100 percent capacity this week.
Of course, personal use of fireworks is prohibited inside the city limit, but you'd never know it based on how many of them we see going off in area neighborhoods each year despite the increase in fires around the same time as well.
Hopefully, this year, the emergency room won't be filled with idiots who lit themselves on fire trying to blow up their mailbox. God knows, there will be more than enough sick people there already. Stay safe.