SEAFRONT traders are demanding business and council bosses adapt to hold the annual fireworks spectaculars – following an announcements this year’s displays are cancelled.

Southend traders say with little chance of the virus going away we must all be adaptable.

It comes as bosses behind Barleylands, in Billericay, launched a drive-in firework display to be held in November.

Paul Thompson, owner of Pebbles One cafe on the seafront said: “I don’t see any reason why people can’t watch the fireworks outside, but this is a novel idea by Barleylands.

“We have drive-in cinemas so why not drive in firework displays? I don’t see why we can’t have this here in Southend if they can do this at Barleylands.

“I say well done Barleylands and if this virus is here to stay we’ve got to be looking at ideas like this.”

Earlier this month Southend Business Improvement District announced the free fireworks displays had been cancelled due to Covid-19 – for the first time in more than 20 years.

The spectacular displays have been entertaining families since 1996 with the Southend Business Improvement District taking over responsibility of organizing the displays from the council in 2013.

The displays historically take place on Saturdays from the start of October through to the November Christmas light switch on event each year. The lights switch-on was cancelled at an earlier date.

Trader Mr Thompson added: “People can use public transport and we had hundreds of thousands of people on the beach in summer – but we cannot watch fireworks outside.

“The cancellation of the fireworks means our season is over, we will not take any money from October. I will have to shut down and lay off staff.”

But council bosses say they will not risk lives and health just for a fireworks display.

Ron Woodley, deputy council leader, said: “I do not think this will work in Southend as we have a barge out at sea and the car parks are not near enough and people will not social distance.

“I would rather follow the Government’s advice and protect people than not protect people’s health, wellbeing and welfair.

“I do not think Southend Council should be risking people’s health for the sake of fireworks displays. This is only one year and we are taking the Government advice.

“I believe that’s the right decision and I don’t see any way we can safely hold the displays.”