How to safely celebrate the 4th amid COVID-19
We’ve celebrated it during war and peace, drought and downpours, good times and bad. And this year, Americans will celebrate our country’s independence during a pandemic.
COVID-19 has changed everything about our everyday lives, including how we spend the Fourth of July. Many annual traditions like going to baseball games and the movies just aren’t happening.
But this year, celebrating our Independence Day means working together to stay safe.
“We are still in the middle of this pandemic. We need to be vigilant to make sure that there is not a swell of positive cases coming out of the holiday weekend,” said Dr. Hammad Haider-Shah, chief medical officer at Aurora West Allis Medical Center.
Tips for festivities
When considering if something is safe, remember the following: activities with fewer people in larger places have a lower risk of spreading the COVID-19 virus. The more people in a smaller space, the higher the risk.
- Fireworks: Many cities and municipalities still have fireworks shows. Typically, these happen in an open field or on water. As long as you can avoid crowds and keep your distance from others, enjoy the show. Maybe you can even stay in your car. And if you’re out, wear a mask.
- Parades: Most Independence Day parades have been canceled, but there are a few that are still scheduled to go on as planned. Before attending, scout things out. Check the route and learn about any safeguards organizers have put in place to limit attendance and keep participants and parade goers safe from each other.
- Backyard barbeques: COVID-19 is not transmitted through food, so firing up the grill and taking part in this Fourth of July tradition is totally OK. However, it’s important to consider where you’re going and who’s going to be there. Hosting a few family members in your backyard is much different than joining 100 people at the park.
- Beaches and pools: It’s difficult for the virus to spread through water, and chemicals used in pool water keep it clean and eliminate bacteria and viruses. The real risks to spreading COVID-19 are out of the water. Crowded beaches, lines for rides and buys changing areas don’t naturally allow for social distancing. To keep cool and stay safe while swimming, it’s recommended to observe social distancing and to wear a mask when you’re not in the water.
“When you’re planning your Fourth of July weekend, ask yourself: can you socially distance? Can you wear a mask? Doing those two things protects yourself and others from getting COVID-19. If the activity limits you from wearing a mask or if you can’t stay 6 feet apart from others, then there’s a higher risk of you and others potentially getting sick,” said Dr. Haider-Shah.
For more information, check out our COVID-19 Resource Center.
About the Author
Matt Queen, health enews contributor, is a communication coordinator at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee. He is a former TV sports anchor and journalist with extensive public relations experience across the health care spectrum. Outside of work, Matt enjoys watching sports (of course), cooking, gardening, golfing and spending time with his wife and two young children.