Juneau’s fireworks show canceled after assembly fails to pass mask mandate

People watch the fireworks launched from Gastineau Channel for the 2017 Fourth of July celebration. (Photo courtesy Matt Miller)
People watch the fireworks launched from Gastineau Channel for the 2017 Fourth of July celebration. (Photo by Matt Miller/KTOO)

Juneau will not see a downtown fireworks show this Independence Day weekend, after all.

At its meeting Monday night, the Juneau Assembly reversed an earlier decision to hold the July 3 show by failing to approve a mandate requiring face masks at the event to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

When assembly members voted 5 to 4 last week to hold the fireworks, they did it with the understanding that the city would also require people to wear face masks while attending the event.

But mandating face masks required an emergency ordinance. That type of legislation needs six votes to pass, rather than a simple majority. And so, with 4 assembly members voting for the mandate and 5 against it, it failed. That means the show will be canceled.

Assembly member Maria Gladziszewski voted in favor of holding the event last week, but voted against the mask mandate Monday. She said she changed her mind about encouraging the public to gather when COVID-19 continues to spread in the state.

The Assembly passed another emergency ordinance Monday extending the requirement to wear face masks on public buses and in public areas of city buildings for three more months.

Correction: A previous version of this story misspelled Assembly member Maria Gladziszewski’s last name. 

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