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Some western Washington fireworks shows go on despite growing coronavirus concerns

Marysville and San Juan Island are planning public displays for the Fourth of July holiday, but are still taking precautions.

MARYSVILLE, Wash. — The fireworks will go on in Marysville this year. 

Last year's Fourth of July celebration was the first in a century. It was so successful, city leaders almost immediately planned to do it again.

Then coronavirus hit.

"We know that this year is a really different Fourth of July and we can't do it the way everybody is used to," Marysville city spokeswoman Connie Mennie said.

Unlike last year, the fireworks event will not be held at a high school field. It's being moved to the city's waterfront, which has much more restricted access. The waterfront park closes at dusk so people won't be able to gather to watch the show.

As an accommodation, the city paid for fireworks that fly about 100 feet higher in the air, so people can see them from farther away.

RELATED: Where to watch fireworks in western Washington this Fourth of July

"If people want to come out and see them, we hope they will just stay in their cars," Mennie said.

Police will be on hand to keep people from congregating along the waterfront.

Part of the reason Marysville's celebration was not canceled is the fact that it has already been planned and paid for.

RELATED: Where to watch July 4th fireworks on TV, online this year

COVID-19 cases in Snohomish County have doubled since the beginning of June, leading to growing concerns.

"We are in a very precarious situation," said Dr. Chris Spitters, the county's top health official.

"Our leadership talked about it for quite a while and this was the decision," Mennie said. "We have had a few people complain to us that they thought it was irresponsible. We can't control everything. We can just ask everybody to be responsible."

San Juan Island is putting on a public display, as well, but only for locals.

People other than islanders are simply not invited.

In a place that survives on tourism and hospitality, the Fourth of July is the biggest day of the year on the island. Coronavirus closures have devastated the local economy, which remains at Phase 2. 

RELATED: Reopening Washington: Look up the phase of your county

While money is desperately needed, tourism officials say it just isn't safe to allow mainlanders in.

Regardless, with ferries understaffed and running on a winter schedule, it would be nearly impossible to get to the island at this point.

"We decided to do this as a thank you to our local community," says San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Becki Day. "If there were to be a serious outbreak here, our hospital system couldn't handle it. We're just trying to do something nice for the community and leave it at that."

RELATED: Expect extended wait times on Washington State Ferries over Fourth of July weekend