We may be amongst a global pandemic, but that won’t stop a “toned-down” version of Sydney’s iconic New Year’s Eve fireworks from taking place this year.
On Thursday, City of Sydney Mayor Clover Moore announced that a temporary custodianship of the Sydney New Year’s Eve fireworks display would be handed over to the NSW Government, citing the increased management and costs associated with any COVID-era public event.
So the iconic fireworks display, which was watched on TV by an estimated one billion people last year, now lies in the hands of Gladys Berejiklian’s state government. Well, despite the danger of large-scale gatherings, they’re going ahead.
“I do feel it’s important for the state, and the nation because it’s really a national symbol that’s beamed around the world… it’s almost our contribution to the world,” Berejiklian shared regarding the decision.
The “toned-down” fireworks display will last less total time than the usual 12-minute program, and the 9pm display geared towards families will be cancelled altogether. Additionally, access to the city’s coastlines will be severely limited to discourage large crowd gatherings.
Last year, calls to abandon the fireworks display gathered serious public momentum. New South Wales was in a total fire ban as fires ravaged the state and the Australian east coast as a whole, with many residents believing the multi-million dollar cost of the fireworks could be better spent elsewhere. On a more emotional front, citizens believed it was a hardly a time for such a celebratory display when many of the state’s residents had lost their homes, lives, or families.
Despite outcry, the fireworks went ahead at a cost of $6.5 million, generating an estimated $130 million revenue for the state economy.
According to Berejiklian, the only thing that will halt the 2020 fireworks display would be a second COVID-19 wave striking Sydney, enacting curfews and lockdown rulings similar to what is currently instituted in Melbourne.