The city of Sandy Springs is canceling its July 4 fireworks and turning the annual Lantern Parade into an at-home event in the latest effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The city cited social distancing concerns as the reasoning in a press release.

“These are tough times and very difficult decisions have to be made,” said Mayor Rusty Paul in the release. “Our community events are an important component in bringing people together, but togetherness that presents a health risk related to the COVID-19 virus. We will bring these events back as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The annual Independence Day “Stars and Stripes” fireworks have been held at the Concourse Center in Perimeter Center.

The Lantern Parade would have entered its fifth year at Morgan Falls Overlook Park in the city’s North End, where participants in previous years made and carried homemade lanterns, while staff placed other lanterns in the Chattahoochee River that were later retrieved. Now it will be a “parade-in-place” event, the city says. On June 19-21, residents will be encouraged to decorate the front areas of their homes with blue lanterns to show support for healthcare workers and first responders.

Materials for making lanterns will be available in certain retail locations to be announced, and free tutorials will be available online for constructing them.

Clarification: A previous version of this story did not clarify that in previous years, lanterns in the river were placed by staff and retrieved.

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