TOMS RIVER, NJ — When Gov. Phil Murphy extended the public health emergency order to July in the ongoing coronavirus crisis, Beachwood officials made the decision to postpone the annual Fourth of July fireworks display.
But with the governor's announcement that public gatherings will be allowed to include 500 people as of July 3, a Toms River business owner has decided to sponsor a July 4th display to fill the gap.
Jesse Sipe, owner of Sipe Adjustment Group, said the Fourth of July fireworks display by his company is scheduled to be held at Shelter Cove in Toms River.
"We feel that this Independence Day is most important to celebrate in such uncertain times," said Sipe, who grew up going to see the Beachwood display. His insurance adjustment company has been in business for more than 30 years in Toms River.
"It felt like a really good time to give back," Sipe said.
The annual Beachwood fireworks display was postponed to Labor Day weekend, Beachwood Mayor Ronald Roma said.
"When I saw Beachwood had canceled it was disturbing," Sipe said, but added he understood the dilemma Roma and the organizers faced.
"He had to make a decision," Sipe said. "I had a little bit more leeway and this just gave me a great opportunity to give back."
Sipe said the response has been very positive, from the police department to the mayor and council.
He has a signed contract with Celebration Fireworks and the Shelter Cove location was settled when other possibilities were not able to be worked out.
Shelter Cove will have limited seating and will be subject to the 500-person limit, but will be accessible for those who watch fireworks from their boats.
Sipe has created a Facebook event for the fireworks display and is posting updates on the page.
"Join Sipe Adjustment Group, Inc. on 4th of July as we sponsor a fireworks display in Toms River," the event noted. "With the current climate of the United States, we feel that there is no better year than 2020 to celebrate our freedom! We look forward to seeing you there!"
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