Fireworks sales soar on Vancouver Island as COVID-19 cancels Halloween gatherings

Fireworks sales soar on Vancouver Island as COVID-19 cancels Halloween gatherings
WatchWhile banned in many municipalities, fireworks are still allowed in some areas of Vancouver Island, and as Skye Ryan reports, that is making the debate over their continued permission a hot one.

Dave Lawson bought fireworks in Coombs on Wednesday, the Nanoose dad hoping they would make Halloween one that his 10-year-old daughter will remember.

“The kids love ’em,” said Lawson.

“And especially for now, for this Halloween, given COVID, how much halloweening is going to be available is still unknown. So being able to do something outdoors that the kids can still have.”

Lawson was one of many lining up at the Far Out Fireworks stand on Coombs Fairgrounds property Wednesday, to buy Halloween fireworks before stock ran out. Fewer locations on Vancouver are selling fireworks due to bans in some municipalities and many public events cancelled.

“It seems to be busier,” said Far Out Fireworks owner Terry Givotkoff.

“Usually we supply some of the fire stations with some of their shows for their families and this year with COVID, they can’t do it. So the families are doing it themselves.

Givotkoff said he urges anyone buying fireworks to check with their local municipalities to see if they’re allowed. He hoped no more local governments will ban them and instead allow this tradition to continue.

“You’re better to control them and put rules and safety in place than trying to ban something and have people do it illegally,” said Givotkoff.

At the Nanaimo & District Branch of the BC SPCA, staff were already bracing for the impact of Halloween fireworks. They say many animals flee their homes and are injured in the process due to fear of the fireworks.

“It’s very scary for them,” said Bryn Green, an animal care provider at the Nanaimo & District BC SPCA.

Green said her own dog Dewie is terrified of fireworks and urges people to make sure their doors and windows are locked so pets don’t run away at the sound.

“He stresses, he’s constantly pacing my bedroom,” said Green.

“He’s panting, he’s drooling, he shakes. So it’s quite a long night for us when there’s fireworks going on.

But Lawson said he is grateful that fireworks are still allowed in the Regional District of Nanaimo in 2020 and that for this one night, his family won’t be concentrating only on COVID-19.

Skye RyanSkye Ryan

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