RACINE COUNTY — There has been a surge in fireworks sales locally after the coronavirus forced the cancellation of many local Fourth of July fireworks displays across southeast Wisconsin.
The manager of Phantom Fireworks in Racine County says sales are up nearly 25 percent compared to last year and that many of the store's shoppers are first-time customers.
"We know absolutely nothing about fireworks," said Judi Mucklin, who was shopping for her family ahead of a trip to visit her grandkids. "Almost everything's canceled so if you can do it with a small group of family and enjoy yourself that's all that's important."
Other shoppers, like Ryan Welch who was visiting from Iowa, say the coronavirus is forcing his family to celebrate differently this year as well.
"Usually, we travel during that time. We travel and we head out to the northeast part of the United States," said Welch. "We're following those restrictions and were deciding to stay closer to home."
Phantom Fireworks manager Connery Ray and his team are working hard to keep up with the increased demand.
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"Definitely way busier, by a lot," said Ray. "Now that people can finally go out to a certain extent, the first upcoming holiday now out of quarantine is the Fourth of July."
The staff has been adjusting to new social distancing rules and are wearing masks as well. Connery says this season is also an important time to remind everyone to check with their municipalities with about fireworks laws.
"Here in Wisconsin, everywhere is different so we advise people to check with their local town hall and jurisdiction," said Ray.
According to state law, if you want to use fireworks in Wisconsin, you'll need to obtain a permit from your municipality. Each city, town, or village will set its own rules. Most places require permits for any firework that explodes or leaves the ground.
In the City of Milwaukee, all fireworks are prohibited. Any item that emits smoke, a bang, or sparkles is considered illegal. Violators could face a fine of up to $1,000.