The National Park Service shot down the idea of a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore this July to celebrate Independence Day, but a spokesperson for South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem has indicated that the governor will work to ensure that a fireworks show takes place at the iconic memorial.
The Epoch Times reported that a National Park Service regional director named Herbert Frost pointed toward coronavirus concerns in a letter last week.
"As the nation continues to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, planning an event of this size and magnitude that draws people from across the country raises very serious concerns about the ability to adhere to Center for Disease Control guidance which currently recommends that large gatherings be avoided, particularly those in which physical social distancing cannot be maintained between people who live in different households," Frost told South Dakota Tourism Secretary Jim Hagen in the letter, according to the outlet.
"With an event this size it would be difficult, if not impossible, to comply with social distancing protocols if they continue to be in place in early July. Also, as we saw last year, most participants were not wearing face coverings, which are now required in all national parks where physical distancing cannot be maintained," the letter said.
There was a fireworks show at Mount Rushmore last year on July 3, 2020.
In the letter Frost also noted some tribal opposition to fireworks at Mount Rushmore.
"In addition, the park's many tribal partners expressly oppose fireworks at the Memorial," Frost said. "These factors, compiled with the COVID-19 pandemic, do not allow a safe and responsible fireworks display to be held at this site."
Gov. Noem's communications director Ian Fury has indicated that Noem "is going to do everything in her ability to ensure that we can celebrate America’s birthday with fireworks at Mount Rushmore."