Macy’s annual 4th of July fireworks show will not take place as usual this year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.
Rather than holding its typical display on July 4, Macy’s will instead have several 5-minute shows across the five boroughs, spread out over multiple nights — a decision made to prevent crowding amid the coronavirus pandemic. The first show will be held on Monday, June 29. The finale will occur July 4; it will be headlined by John Legend and broadcast on NBC.
“These past few months have been some of the most difficult in our city’s history, and New Yorkers are looking for a break,” de Blasio said in a statement. “This 4th of July celebration with Macy’s will give all New Yorkers a safe and exciting way to enjoy the holiday together, even when we are apart.”
In April, de Blasio had announced that Macy’s was still planning to hold its fireworks show. However, plans to continue with the display resulted in backlash from some individuals — who argued that the show could cause an uptick in COVID-19 cases due to spectators flouting social distancing guidelines. What’s more, some critics said the retailer — which furloughed thousands of store workers, tapped its revolving credit line and reduced executive pay amid the pandemic — should spend its dollars elsewhere.
“Macy’s should not be spending millions on fireworks displays while its own workforce is out of work. They are putting New Yorkers at risk in order to create a nationally televised commercial for themselves, and using our city as a backdrop. If they really cared about New Yorkers, they would be spending that money on healthcare coverage for the hard-working employees that made them successful for decades,” said Stuart Appelbaum, president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, in an April statement.
Set against the backdrop of the New York skyline, the Macy’s fireworks show typically draws nearly 3 million in-person spectators, as well as 15 million through a television broadcast, according to the company. While the retailer does not reveal information regarding the cost of the production, Fox Business estimates that the fireworks alone could cost $6 million, even at wholesale prices.