Plans to hold a full-blown traditional Liberation Day celebration in the CNMI this July 4 has been scuttled, mainly because the COVID-19 pandemic is still a threat to public health. There will still be a fireworks display though, on July 4, at the Garapan Fishing Base.
In a statement from the Saipan Mayor’s Office, it said there will be no government-sponsored Liberation Day activities this year because of COVID-19.
Saipan Mayor David M. Apatang believes it will be in the best interest of the public to forego the traditional celebration this year. “While many are encouraging us to go forward with a shortened version of our traditional weeklong festival heading into the Fourth of July, we think keeping our public’s safety from the pandemic is paramount to anything else,” said Apatang.
“Taking a risk and letting our guard down so we could celebrate the July 4th holiday is not what we are all about. Once we are certain and given clearance from the COVID-19 Task Force, we can plan for next year’s celebration. Our people come first and putting off this year’s celebration is wise and the only way to keep the threat of COVID-19 under control,” the mayor added.
The plan is still to go through with a fireworks display on July 4, in honor of the spirit of celebrating the traditional Fourth of July. It will depend on how much funds is raised in this short period of time remaining. “We will be asking for donations to help us pay a portion of the cost to have a 15- to 20-minute fireworks display,” said Apatang. “To ensure control of large gatherings and the safety of our people, we will require those watching the fireworks display to remain in their parked car. The display will be at the Garapan Fishing Base pier.”
It was earlier reported that Apatang wanted a full-blown but controlled Liberation Day celebration this year and was pushing for five consecutive evenings of activities at the Garapan Fishing Base and a full-day celebration on the Fourth of July.
This year’s Fourth of July is the CNMI’s the 75th commemoration.
“As we continue the fight against the COVID-19, we encourage our residents to get vaccinated. We continue to hear that the vaccines do protect us from contracting the virus,” the mayor said.