East Alabama fireworks stores, residents share New Year’s Eve celebrations

Updated: Dec. 29, 2020 at 7:01 PM EST
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SMITHS STATION, Ala. (WTVM) - While many are looking forward to 2021 and celebrating the end of a challenging year, East Alabama is seeing rapidly increasing COVID-19 numbers.

That means New Year’s Eve celebrations will look different this year, which could give a boost to the local economy in some ways.

The shelves are well-stocked at Boomtown Fireworks in Smiths Station ahead of Thursday night.

“I’ll show them the things they need and can enjoy and be safe with and have a good time,” owner Steve Simons said.

He said he expects a busy next few days, hoping New Year’s Eve in the pandemic means people will set off lots of fireworks, a way to celebrate while avoiding the spread of COVID-19.

“People do try and look away from all this and try to find something relaxing and enjoyable,” Simons said. “That’s the reason they go with the fireworks. They can’t go to the parties, they can’t go to the concerts. [They can] do their own.”

The virus is still spreading rapidly across East Alabama, just like the rest of the state.

According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Russell, Lee, Chambers, and Barbour counties, in total, have seen nearly 1,900 new coronavirus cases in the past 14 days.

COVID-19 is the main reason why many said they’re taking it easy on the upcoming holiday.

“This year, I’m going to stay at home and probably drink,” Keshaun Killins said. “No bars because of COVID. There’s going to be a lot of people at the bars, so I guess I’m going to be at home.”

According to those News Leader 9 talked to Tuesday, most people are staying home, either by themselves or with a small group of family or friends.

“[I’m] just spending some time with my baby,” Jonasia Jones said. “COVID kind of messed up my plans, so I’m ringing in the new year with family.”

Another Russell County resident said she plans to keep her celebrations small this year.

“I plan on spending it with family and friends, of course keeping it safe during the pandemic,” Kendyl Tarver said.

Business owners like Simons hope fireworks and safe New Year’s Eve celebrations will usher in a successful 2021.

“You know, enjoy it, have a good time and bring the New Year in,” he said.

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