On Tuesday, April 27, Highland City Council instructed city staff to begin planning for the return of the city’s Fourth of July Parade and National Night Out, community events that were canceled in 2020 due to coronavirus-related restrictions on public gatherings.

The decision was made in light of improved pandemic conditions (including greatly reduced hospitalizations and the availability of vaccinations) and recently relaxed state-mandated restrictions, especially for outdoor events. Since March, San Bernardino County has fallen from the most restrictive purple tier of the state’s reopening plan to the “substantial” risk red tier and is now in the “moderate” orange tier.

Highland City Manager Joseph Hughes stated that due to improved pandemic conditions and the fact that the parade is an outdoor event city staff felt it appropriate to consider holding the event after nearly all community events were canceled in 2020.

“I’m all for it,” said Mayor Penny Lilburn. “Let’s get our lives back together.”

“We need to get our community back together,” said Mayor Pro Tem Larry McCallon. “The Fourth of July and National Night Out are good steps.”

McCallon also noted the Centers for Disease Control’s recent guidelines advising that people (vaccinated and unvaccinated) do not need to wear facemasks when outdoors, unless they are in a large crowd. Unvaccinated people are advised to wear masks when in small outdoor gatherings.

Hughes added that planning for these events would have to be adaptive as state guidelines are constantly changing.

In addition to changes made due to coronavirus safety precautions, Hughes said the parade’s staging will likely have to be altered due to July 4 falling on a Sunday this year to accommodate traffic from St. Adelaide Catholic Church services.

The parade usually begins at the intersection of Base Line and Church Avenue and stages on Church north and south of Base Line and works its way west on Base Line to Central Avenue. This year, staging will likely be kept to one side of Base Line.

When McCallon asked why the city doesn’t consider holding the parade on Saturday or Monday, Hughes informed him that the city did that once before and received backlash from the community.

McCallon, a member of Immanuel Baptist Church, also shared that the church recently submitted a permit request for its Fourth of July fireworks show, which was also canceled in 2020.

City council also approved the planning of National Night Out, an annual community event meant to build relationships among neighbors and local law enforcement. National Night Out is also and outdoor event with past events being held at various block parties throughout the city or as a centralized barbecue in the Highland Police Station parking lot. This year’s event is scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 3.

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