CALEDONIA -- Many Fourth of July celebrations have been canceled due to COVID-19 -- and local fireworks stores are seeing a major increase in sales -- with people planning to set off their own.
From sparklers to variety packs, business has been booming at Phantom Fireworks in Caledonia.
"That, I think, is driving a lot of people, a lot of customers who say, 'Usually we go see our fireworks somewhere, and this year, we can't, so we're coming in so our kids can have some type of normalcy,'" said Riley Harlow, manager.
Cancellations due to COVID-19 have sparked interest in people to set off their own fireworks.
At the busier than normal Phantom Fireworks, safety pamphlets are given to customers at checkout.
"If you're shooting any of the mortars and stuff like that, make sure you put a brick on each side of them to make sure they're not tipping over," Harlow said.
Harlow said only adults should handle the fireworks, while wearing safety goggles and having a water bucket on hand for safety.
With sales skyrocketing -- some of the hot items at Phantom Fireworks, like mortar kits and 500-gram repeaters, are similar to what you'd see at a public display.
The best thing you can do?
"I would just recommend coming early, shopping early -- avoid the long lines as we get closer to the Fourth of July," Harlow said.
Make sure to check the rules depending on where you live -- as fireworks aren't legal everywhere. In Milwaukee, for example, the Common Council in 2016 created the "Fireworks Task Force" to study the impact of fireworks on public safety after a fire that was caused by fireworks destroyed a Milwaukee home. The study concluded that amateur use of fireworks should be banned in Milwaukee due to the significant number of injuries and property damage caused by them. A Milwaukee ordinance was later introduced and passed banning the sale and amateur use of fireworks in Milwaukee.
The fine for setting off fireworks within the Milwaukee city limits can run up to $1,000.
Meanwhile, officials at Phantom Fireworks wanted people to know they are hiring now -- especially for those who might be out of a job due to the pandemic.
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