Fireworks ban is a bust for local businesses

July 2, 2011 7:41:37 PM PDT
A fireworks ban is now in effect in Galveston County. Up until Saturday afternoon, it was one of the only places in the area where fireworks could be sold. Dangerously dry weather has prompted the bans, but some businesses say their Fourth of July will be a big bust thanks to the new rules in place.

Fireworks vendors say this is holiday weekend is historically their busiest selling season. This year, many were forced to keep their stands closed.

Fireworks vendors in Harris County alone predict they've lost $20 million dollars this season.

The serious drought and low rain are triggering county-wide bans on fireworks, which are devastating to the industry, according to Shannon Brinkley.

Brinkley is the chair of the Harris County chapter of the Texas Fireworks Association. He describes what's happened this season as the worse he's ever seen.

He says the drought has caused 500 fireworks stands to shut down in Harris County. He says it's also put 5,000 seasonal employees out of work.

Now, many vendors are looking at ways to deal with the loss.

"It's going to be difficult. We may qualify for some SBA loans and assistance through a disaster act, but besides those types of outlets, that's the only one that I know of at this time," Brinkley said.

Fireworks vendors say they aren't the only ones losing out right now. Many non-profits, like churches and booster clubs, aren't getting a chance to make money by working the stands.

As a reminder, anyone caught using fireworks this weekend in Harris and surrounding counties faces huge fines or jail time.

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