Citing social distancing concerns amid the coronavirus outbreak, the County Board of Supervisors denied an application for a fireworks display, as well as one for a special event, at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds in Sonoita.
The two applications went hand-in-hand for a proposed event hosted by the M.U.S.I.C. Foundation of Arizona, meant to take place on July 3.
“It is a shame because this sounded like a terrific event,” Supervisor Bruce Bracker, who represents Eastern Santa Cruz County, said during the board’s telephonic meeting on Tuesday morning. “But in light of what’s going on in our community with the COVID cases, in all conscience, I cannot approve.”
County Manager Jennifer St. John said there was rumor that there would also be a testing blitz at the event, however she was unable to obtain any concrete information on those plans, and strongly disapproved of the details she had on hand.
“If they’re going to do a testing blitz and everyone had to be tested before they went in, and they were negative, then maybe that’s a different situation, but that’s not what we’re seeing,” she said. “We have no social distancing plans from the organization.”
The applicants expected about 1,500 people, St. John said. However, in light of other Independence Day events getting canceled in Nogales, Patagonia and Tubac, she said county staff also feared that the number of guests would be much higher.
Supervisors Manuel Ruiz and Rudy Molera agreed, voicing similar concerns that the event would increase the spread of coronavirus within the county.
“I disapprove 100 percent,” Molera said. “We’ve seen how it spreads… We’ve seen it in the produce houses, we’ve seen it at family gatherings, and this is just asking for it to escalate even more.”
“The rationale for us denying this application is that the foundation has provided no information about how they intend to comply with any of these requirements,” Ruiz said.
Also during the meeting, the County Board of Supervisors postponed discussion of another special event license for the M.U.S.I.C. Foundation of Arizona in Sonoita, scheduled for Sept. 25-27.
“At this time, with our health pandemic going on, staff feels it’s too early to be approving any event on (Sept. 25 to 27),” St. John said.