SAN ANGELO, TX — After much wrangling over how San Angelo public safety organizations like the San Angelo Police Department could manage a wildly popular $30,000 fireworks display that is held every year at Lake Nasworthy, the president of the Lake Nasworthy Homeowners Association, Ray Mckim, told John Tufts at the local newspaper early this evening that the show is canceled.
McKim noted that City and County officials pleaded with him to cancel the show in light of the surprise declaration by Governor Greg Abbott today that requires Texans living in counties suffering more than 20 active COVID-19 cases to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth while in a business or other building open to the public, as well as outdoor public spaces, whenever social distancing is not possible. The restrictions, that exempt children under the age of 10, go into effect at noon Friday, July 3. The fireworks show was scheduled for the evening of July 4.
“I applaud the leadership of the Lake Nasworthy Homeowners Association for the decision to postpone the Fourth of July fireworks show. I know this was not an easy decision to make. After Governor Greg Abbott’s announcement yesterday regarding masks and limiting gatherings to 10 people, this decision to postpone the fireworks was made in the best interest of the citizens of San Angelo. I greatly appreciate the Lake Nasworthy HOA’s leadership and them taking a strong position as it relates to the health and safety of all of the citizens,” Mayor Brenda Gunter said.
The decision to close the parks around Lake Nasworthy was made to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our community. We currently have over 200 active cases of COVID-19 in Tom Green County.
Thursday, the alarming rate of increase in COVID-19 positive test results from Tom Green County testing facilities continued, with 40 more active cases added to the count. Since the pandemic began in March, 463 COVID-19 positive tests have been reported. As of Thursday, July 2, 256 in the county are considered active cases. There are 26 currently hospitalized in San Angelo suffering from COVID-19.
As of Thursday, July 2, in Texas Trauma Service Area K, where San Angelo is the hub, there are 170 of 466 hospital beds available and only 13 ICU beds available. In the region that spans from Crockett County to the west to Mason County to the east and south to north, from Sutton County to Coke County, there are 466 total hospital beds available to service a population base of 179,457 population. There are 30 available ventilators. In the region, 33 COVID-19 patients are currently hospitalized.
Officials questioned how assemblies for a large fireworks display would support proper social distancing. Prior to this evening’s announcement, the City was forced to announce Nasworthy city parks would be re-opened during and immediately after the fireworks show to facilitate public safety. Since the 4th of July fireworks show has been postponed to a later date, the parks around Lake Nasworthy will remain closed for all activities (including camping) until July 13. Public boat ramps will remain open for people to launch boats into the lake.
The Lake Nasworthy HOA is calling the cancelation a postponement and the decision was made in coordination with City Manager Daniel Valenzuela. The fireworks are shipped to San Angelo from a vendor and usually the contract incorporates a provision for holding a display on an alternate date. In past years, the budget for the fireworks, that generally last 20-30 minutes, has been in the neighborhood of $25,000 to $30,000.
“I hope that everyone can still proudly display their AMERICAN FLAG!! Enjoy the company of close family and friends while maintaining social distancing,” the homeowners said in a statement.
Updated with comments from Mayor Brenda Gunter on July 3 at 8:27 a.m.