Mary Spicuzza, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
The coronavirus has forced the cancellation of Summerfest, many Fourth of July fireworks shows and most other major summer celebrations across southeast Wisconsin.
But it hasn't stopped amateur fireworks displays.
Some City of Milwaukee officials warned Monday that amateur fireworks have become a constant occurrence this summer, even though they're illegal.
"Anecdotally, it's been every night," Milwaukee Ald. Bob Bauman told the Journal Sentinel. "Multiple locations. All amateurs, because there are no official fireworks."
Fireworks are illegal in the city of Milwaukee, and those who violate the city ordinance could face fines of up to $1,000.
Asked about police enforcing fireworks rules, Bauman said, "They never really have. They'll tell people to knock it off. But it's like trying to dip into the ocean with a teaspoon. It's impossible."
Ald. Michael Murphy and Council President Cavalier Johnson issued a warning last week urging people not to use amateur fireworks.
"Fireworks can cause serious injuries, including burns, contusions, lacerations, and head and eye wounds, with children ages 5 to 9 facing the highest risk of injury," he said.
Aldermen also urged people to think of their neighbors.
"Fireworks cause fear and anxiety in pets and small children, and they can also trigger frightening memories and flashbacks for some military veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder," Johnson said.
Several aldermen questioned Milwaukee police officials about whether officers are enforcing the city's fireworks ordinance during Monday's Steering and Rules Committee meeting.
At that meeting, Murphy noted that very few citations for fireworks violations were issued last year.
Police officials told aldermen that they have been busy recently responding to violent crimes, including homicides, nonfatal shootings and domestic violence.
Contact Mary Spicuzza at (414) 224-2324 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter at @MSpicuzzaMJS.