After consulting with local hospital officials, Riverhead BID cancels plan for New Year’s Eve fireworks show

The fuse has fizzled out on a downtown Riverhead fireworks show in 2020.

The Riverhead Business Improvement District announced Monday it had canceled its proposed Dec. 31 New Year’s Eve fireworks display, four days after the Town Board granted informal approval for the show at its work session.

Following that work session, BID president Steven Shauger consulted with Andrew Mitchell, president and CEO of Peconic Bay Medical Center, and the Town Board to address concerns related to COVID-19, according to a statement from the BID.

Mr. Shauger said the safety of the community is of “utmost importance.”

“Understanding that this is a challenging time, we must explore and respect the opinions and concerns of our community leaders,” Mr. Shauger said. “We have supported our health care heroes throughout this pandemic and will continue to keep their well-being at the top of our priority list. Sadly, an event of this kind is just not doable right now.”

The BID had originally planned to host a fireworks show during the Alive on 25 street festival for Fourth of July. The BID paid $12,000 to Santore World Famous Fireworks in advance of that show and the company provided a 2020 credit. The BID tried to then plan a show around the Holiday Bonfire event, which was also canceled. That led to the New Year’s eve show, which officials noted last week could potentially be done safely with social distancing or possibly by requiring people to stay in their cars.

“I think it’s a great idea, so long as they stay in their cars,” Supervisor Yvette Aguiar said last Thursday. “Even if they do get out of their cars, they just have to maintain social distancing.”

The BID said on Monday that Santore has agreed to prorate the credit to 2021.

“We’d like to thank Mr. Mitchell for his communication, concern, and honest feedback, Santore fireworks for their patience and agreement to deliver thrills in 2021, and the public for voicing their opinion — which helps us to determine the best course of action for Downtown Riverhead,” Mr. Shauger said. “The BID continues to envision fun things for the new year, and we aim to bring excitement back to town once it’s safe to do so.”