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El Paso leaders ban fireworks and large mass gatherings for July 4th due to virus spike

Lakana file
Fireworks are lit up for the Fourth of July in this file photo.

EL PASO, Texas -- City/County Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza implored El Pasoans on Monday to stay home for the upcoming Fourth of July holiday weekend to reduce the ongoing surge of coronavirus, as local officials banned fireworks and large mass gatherings among other newly issued directives.

“We recognize the community’s desire to return back to normal, but as we have reported over the last several days our cases are not decreasing and so we must be cautious in our approach to make sure we are caring for ourselves and for our most vulnerable,” Ocaranza said.

County Judge Ricardo Samaniego said he was banning all sales and use of fireworks throughout the county due to a combination of severe drought and Covid-19 concerns.

He said fireworks aren't prudent given both the fire risk and the likelihood of people gathering to view them. Anyone violating the directive could face misdemeanor criminal charges and a $500 fine.

Judge Samaniego also said there would be a major enforcement effort in both the Montana Vista and Red Sands areas for those who might be tempted to violate the order.

Mayor Dee Margo emphasized there would be no public fireworks displays or other events held for the 4th in the city - and he noted that any gatherings of over 100 people for parades or any other privately-organized activities were also banned.

"Everbody is concerned" at all levels of the county and city about quickly rising level of cases and hospitalizations, Judge Samiengo said, which he noted are some of the "highest in all of Texas." There were nearly 150 patients hospitalized and 2,000 active infections in El Paso on Monday.

The positivity rate from current virus testing locally is approaching 10%, a threshold which officials also cited as a reason for significant concern.

"We will persevere in the face of adversity, as we've always done, but we need the community to do their part,” said Mayor Margo, who again stressed the need for wearing face masks and maintaining social distancing.

Businesses in El Paso are currently mandated to require face coverings of customers and employees - or face fines.

The mayor also announced a set of new local emergency orders that aligned with recent directives issued by the governor. Those are as follows:

  • ·         Prohibit the public from visiting nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless as determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC);
  • ·         Limit organizations planning on having parades to 100 participants or less, unless prior approval from the Mayor is obtained, and require compliance with the Local Public Health Authority Order regarding parades which is found at
  • ·         Prohibit outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people unless prior approval from the Mayor is obtained subject to certain conditions or restrictions. This provision does not apply to activities or gatherings that are allowed by the Governor’s Executive Order GA-28;
  • ·         Require outdoor markets, parades, and outdoor mass gatherings, comprised of less than 100 participants to follow the respective Local Health Authority Order found at;
  • ·         Restrict dine-in services by restaurants that have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages, to operate at up to 50 percent of the total listed occupancy of the restaurant beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 29, 2020;
  • ·         Prohibit the public from visiting bars or similar establishments that hold a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) and are not restaurants as defined in the Directive;
  • ·         However, bars or similar establishments may continue to provide drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drinks, to the extent authorized by TABC.

You can watch the entire briefing by city and county officials in the video player below.

Coronavirus Video / El Paso / News / Top Stories / Video

Jim Parker

Jim Parker is the Director of Digital Content for ABC-7.



  1. No law against burning the flag. First Amendment says so and the Supreme Court agrees. You know what’s worse? Using the Second Amendment to kill innocent children with guns approved by the NRA.

    1. You know what’s worse? Hypocrites like you who call everyone who doesn’t agree with you a Nazi while supporting a corrupt, racist Presidential candidate who actually said he was against desegregation because he didn’t want his kids growing up on a jungle and used his position as VP to blackmail a foreign leader to save his son from being investigated. Liberalism is a disease far worse than HIV, Ebola, cancer and this plandemic combined. ANYONE who would support Joe Biden needs a complete psychological exam. Please get some help.

    2. What an idiot! The NRA doesn’t approve guns. Interesting to see the leftist BLM protesters exercising their Second Amendment rights to kill innocent children at the Seattle CHAZ/CHOP. They are the only ones killing children.

  2. We better celebrate this year like never before because if the Liberals have their way, the 4th of July will be considered racist and will no longer be celebrated. Soon to be replace by National Illegal Alien Day.

      1. I don’t lick anyone’s one butt. President Trump doesn’t know me from Adam. I gain nothing personal by supporting him. In fact, it causes me more harassment than anything. I support him because he was on the right path to repair the damage done to this country by Obama and when this plandemic is over he will finish the job.

          1. Trump in prison? Only in your delusional mind. You can add him as another schizo personality to impersonate.

      1. Because you hate American and everything it stands for. Maybe you should leave if it’s is bad here. You just admitted that supporting criminals and terrorists are more important than our countries independence. You are disgusting and anti-America.

    1. Immigrants have been an integral part of this nation since 1200. If you have a problem with immigrants you probably shouldn’t live in the United States.

        1. You’re an idiot madmike. A complete moron without a single redeeming quality. Just like nadodave currently being investigated for online threats to children.

          1. Aren’t you the idiot that should be investigated when it comes to children. Good thing you don’t have of your own.

          2. You are the Mark Phillip Turner, DOB 1946 that is a registered child rapist.

          3. That is how I know you are another mental case Alberto personality. At first, you were 1946, but when called out on it, you changed to 1961, saying your mom’s birthday was 1946. That means she had you when she was 15. Id doesn’t add up.

        1. There are four Mark Turners in El Paso. I’m not the one on the registry. I have been in touch with that Mr. Turner and I tried to get him to report madmike to the DPS for harrassing a sex offender on the registry, but he refuses to get involved with our petty political arguments. Harrassment of someone on the registry is a misdemeanor but I can’t get Mr. Turner, the one with the middle name “Philip” to report madmike and file charges. Just so you know. Wanted to give you a heads up.

  3. Better get your Confederate Flags to celebrate Fourth of July before it’s too late. I heard Trump is buying all the ones that are left and giving them away to his Rebubbacan bootlickers.

        1. You and your ignorant buddy madmike can’t bust a grape. You’re both just ignorant uneducated white trash. Sit down somewhere and the lament the coming defeat of your idol. King of the white trash; the orange buffoon.

          1. We all know Alberto the psycho section welfare queen is uneducated. You are the uneducated white trash schizo personality in his mentally diseased head. President Trump will win in a total landslide victory. Speaking of polls how about the poll out saying that 38% of Americans believe Biden has dementia. He’ll never make the election. He is getting worse as every week goes by. He can’t hide in his basement forever.

  4. You’re a sniveling little maggot who supports the orange buffoon, the most corrupt and inept President in the hostory ofvthe country. No one is afraid of your threats. No one cares what the village idiot is raving about.

    1. What’s the matter dolt? Are we getting under your skin? Good to see you break down. The real Alberto coming out. Mean, nasty and a hater. BTW – You do know you are the village idiot.

      1. No I’m just amused by the kind of human scum that would support a treasonous President. The emperor has no clothes and his ignorant white trash followers have no credibility whatever.

        1. I voted against crooked Hillary. This November 3 I am voting against socialist dementia ridden Joe. The only human scum I know are libtards like you. You do know you are white trailer park trash. lmao.

        2. im amused by the child rapist that has the nerve to call anyone human scum. was the crime of child rape worth it? i bet you dream about going to pedo island, before he died epstien was your hero, wasnt he?

  5. Speaking of dementia. Trump has his Lap dog Pence say what he needs to say because he, Trump, can’t put one Sentence together that makes sense. Hannity of Fox gave him a chance to say what he would accomplish if he was president again. Trump never gave an answer. He just babbled on with some of his usual Word Salad. Experience, never been in Washington before, good to be president, Bolton is lying, etc., he answered. What? A kid on Ritalin would have given a more clear answer. Dumbest president ever. Biden makes more sense in 5 minutes than your retarded president has in last 4 years.

    1. Dumbass Alberto watching Fox News. Too funny. Your TDS makes you sound dumb and dumber. But oh wait…..YOU ARE! Trump and Pence don’t have dementia. Biden does. It will be full Alzeimer’s in a few months and he will be in a nursing home. 38% of Americans polled agree. That includes 20% of like Democrat voters.

      1. Your comments are so way of base that they make no sense. I think that those are late stages of Dumbentia. They must have started 4 years ago when someone told you to vote for a spoiled millionaire with his own TV show. The Show is over for your feeble minded president. A real President (Biden) is about to take over for a guy(Trump) who plays one on TV. BIDEN/HARRIS 2020! BIDEN/HARRIS 2020!

    1. Jeff is the one who does a Circle Jerk with his Right wing buddies at his home every Friday Night. They put on some Hillbilly banjo music and go at it until all the moonshine is gone. Hee, Haww.

  6. Can’t leave Trump alone for ONE MINUTE. White House tried to reach him and tell him to delete Old Farts Yelling White Power that he posted on Twitter. Three hours into his Golf game he finally answered the phone and agreed to delete it. America, I give you Donald Trump your Retarded president. God help us all if he is still President next year!

    1. Thankfully, and as it stands now, we aren’t going to have to worry about the orange buffoon. I think we need to concentrate on Senate races. I’m going to send some contributions to the Democrats in those toss up races and I encourage others to do so. We need health care reform as well as immigration reform and we cannot allow the Senate to keep blocking those after Sleepy Joe takes office.

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