Pontotoc Mayor Bob Peeples announced last week (Thursday, June 25) that the July 4th downtown kids parade and fireworks show at Howard Stafford Park have been cancelled due to the increasing numbers of coronavirus cases in Pontotoc County.

At the June 17 board meeting city officials had said that the Fourth of July activities were still scheduled, but Mayor Peeples said last Thursday that the board of aldermen all agreed that cancelling the special events was the safest course of action.

“It’s with great reluctance that we announce the cancellation decision because the parade and fireworks are two of of the city’s most popular annual events, but I polled all of the aldermen this morning and it was a unanimous agreement that cancellation is in the best interest of public safety and everyone involved,” Mayor Peeples said.

Peeples said the decision was based on the increasing number of coronavirus cases locally and the difficulty of enforcing the need for social distancing at large events such as the fireworks show.

“The numbers are spiking and we had a coronavirus death yesterday in the city and there’s a need to error on the side of caution.”

“The public’s safety and the safety of our first responders, which includes the police officers, firemen and medical folks, were the main reasons for deciding to cancel. It wasn’t right to ask them to put themselves in harm’s way by helping park folks, patrol the crowds and deal with any emergencies that might arise with such a large crowd. Events like the Fourth of July necessitate all hands on deck."

“It is a necessity for folks to keep working and keep their businesses open and go to the store, but even though we love the parade and fireworks show, those are optional in our current situation.”

“We thought about having the fireworks show and everyone staying in their cars, but with the summer heat and logistics of Howard Stafford Park having only one access road, that wasn’t a good option either.”

As of 6 p.m. Wednesday (June 24) night there were 175 total coronavirus cases reported in Pontotoc County (since March) and three deaths, according to Mississippi State Dept. of Heath figures.

In Mississippi, MSDH officials reported 1,092 new cases on June 24 and five new deaths. Since the pandemic started 24,516 cases have been reported in Mississippi , including 1,016 deaths.

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