Why the coronavirus may impact your 4th of July fireworks

Published: Feb. 24, 2020 at 6:47 PM CST
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It's a bit ironic to think of China as having a big impact on celebrating American independence, but that could be the case this year. The coronavirus is cutting into the supply of fireworks, with more than 90 percent of them coming from China.

Already a slow process, manufacturing fireworks has come to a virtual standstill in China, and that means much less of those firecrackers and other pyrotechnics are coming into the US.

"Even if we were to start production today (Monday), which we aren't, the factories are essentially, a majority are still all shut down," said Michael Ingram, Executive VP for Fireworks Over America. "It will take probably 3 to 4 weeks before you'd even be in a situation to start shipping again."

That's the reality the coronavirus is having on the fireworks industry. Large quarantine zones in China mean, even in cities where factories could open, the workers are unable to get to their job to work.

"There's really no end in sight as of right now," said Ingram.

KY3 also spoke with Aaron Mayfield of A.M. Pyrotechnics. He's one of the few American manufacturers of commercial grade fireworks, so he's able to provide his clients, including the Springfield Cardinals, with their fireworks.

For the average person looking to buy for the Fourth, it won't be total chaos, but it may cost a bit more.

"It's simple economics, supply and demand, right?" said Ingram. "Supply is low, demand is high because we're going into a Saturday 4th of July."

Ingram said fireworks will almost certainly cost you more. Even if production were to fully start in the coming days, there will be significant competition with many products for space on shipping lines. In most cases, it takes 10 to 12 weeks for fireworks to arrive in Springfield from start to finish.

"Every day that goes along, the closer and closer to Independence Day, it's, there's gonna be a post production product that's coming out of China that's gonna arrive very late, if it does arrive," said Ingram.

Ingram said his company should be in pretty good shape for the 4th of July holiday, but others may not be. He says he is keeping in touch with his supplier in China on a daily basis for updates.