• September 27, 2020

The Fourth in the time of COVID - Odessa American: Local News

e-Edition Subscribe

The Fourth in the time of COVID

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size
  • POP ‘EM

    Placing a pair of smoke grenades, 14-year-old Marcus Orosco, his 13-year-old brother Nathan Orosco, and their mother Celestina Trujilo set up a display on the counter Monday afternoon. Starting their 3rd year manning the John's Bombs fireworks stand on Andrews Highway near Schleymeyer Field, the two brothers work this time to raise funds for their youth account with Odessa Bible Church.

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 1:04 pm

COVID-19 or not, Americans are ready to start celebrating their freedom this week as firework stands all over Ector County have opened for business.

What isn’t clear is how sales will be affected by the pandemic.

Ryan Wyatt who works at John’s Bombs, which has two locations, one at 7111 Andrews Highway and 6918 N. County Road West, isn’t sure about whether or not sales will be high.

“We don’t know,” Wyatt said. “It’s so hard to predict what people will do. We’ve had some rain. It’s been crazy.”

Most firework stands opened up on June 24 but John’s Bombs didn’t open until Saturday due to a COVID-19 scare, Wyatt said.

“We opened up on Saturday because one of the workers came into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 but after the test results came back negative, then we opened up,” Wyatt said.

This is Wyatt’s second year working at John’s Bombs.

But there will always be some items that sell more than others and it should probably come as no surprise that the biggest sell at John’s Bombs is the shell fireworks.

“That’s one of our biggest sellers,” Wyatt said. “A lot of the kids stuff, we sell a lot of them too. We sell a bunch of packages. There’s a combination of sparklers, showers and artillery shells. It just depends on the packages that you buy. They come in a variety of packages.”

They also do giveways each year too.

“You can fill out a raffle ticket where you can win The Godfather which is the biggest package that we have,” Wyatt said.

Packages are usually the popular sellers at stands.

That’s been the case for one stand that’s run by the Odessa First Assembly.

Their stand, which is located on 2679 S. County Road West in Odessa, has seen a few packages sold including one called “The War Zone.”

“We’ve sold about three of them,” said Shyanne Maloney. “It has artillery shells. Another hot item is the assortments. We have this cool back pack for kids. It has a bunch of different items for kids like sparklers and pops and the kids get a backpack.”

Maloney says they’ve had their firework stand for at least six years.

“Every year is different,” Maloney said. “For instance, this year, we don’t normally sell as many as we have already. This season, it’s been different. That’s one of the more expensive items.”

They’ve been following strict social distance and facemask guidelines.

“We, obviously, have been wearing our facemasks,” Maloney said. “It’s difficult because of the six foot thing. A lot of the times, people won’t be sure about what they want and usually, you can hand them the product but in that instance, you’re face-to-face so we’ve implemented them to wear face masks. We have hand sanitizer at every register.”

Maloney added that the proceeds that they make go toward sending their youth students to summer camps and to support missionaries.

They said business was quiet at first but it has since picked up a little bit.

“It’s usually pretty dead when we first open and I don’t know if it was because of COVID,” Maloney said. “But we’ve been pretty steady. People are ready to get back out.”

Maloney said that another hot item are roman candles as well as the sparklers and the tanks.

Wyatt says it’s been quiet at John’s Bombs as well but they anticipate that it’ll pick up as the week progresses.

“It’s been a little bit slow but his busiest days are going to be the third and the fourth,” Wyatt said.

One of the customers, Jose Zorrilla, who was picking up items from Mr. W’s Fireworks-which has multiple stands all across the county-says he always comes to buy fireworks each Independence Day but added that they aren’t spending as much this year as in the past.

“The budget and everything has been crazy,” Zorrilla said. “People used to spend hundreds of dollars to spend at fireworks stands but it looks like this year, people are spending 20 dollar bills instead. But we understand that there are people who have it much worse.”

Zorrilla, who says his family usually travels to places like San Antonio or Dallas for the Fourth of July, will be staying home this year due to the pandemic.

“Pretty much, we just want to stay safe,” Zorilla said. We wanted to go out and travel on the fourth but we’ve cancelled that due to the rise in cases.”

But like with every year, there are still some restrictions on what can or cannot be shot off.

“For fireworks, you have to be outside of the city limits to pop them,” Wyatt said. “For the smaller things, you can do in your backyard.”

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

Humidity: 63%
Winds: SSW at 10mph
Feels Like: 74°

Your Extended Forecast


High 102°/Low 56°
Sunshine. Highs 100 to 104F and lows in the mid 50s.


High 75°/Low 48°
Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the mid 70s and lows in the upper 40s.


High 79°/Low 52°
Mainly sunny. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the low 50s.
Online Features

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

  • ALL-ACCESS: Subscribe to our e-edition and premium website at myoaoa.com.
    You can read your daily newspaper without taking a walk to the driveway.
    Look back at yesterday's newspaper, or issues from months ago with our archive feature.
    Call circulation at 432-337-7314 to sign up today.