With Independence Day around the corner and as the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the country, health officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shared recommendations for July 4th celebrations to help keep yourself and your family safe and healthy.
At a recent press conference, CDC director Robert Redfield offered Americans a few guidelines on how to safely celebrating Independence Day this weekend. With a new record set of 50,000 new cases recorded in just one day in the United States on Wednesday, this year's celebrations, of course, will look very different. And although firework shows and community events like parades have been canceled in most areas of the country, there is still concern over the impact of privately organized gatherings.
"For the Fourth of July, which is a family event, we want to re-emphasize that it’s really important that we get back to being vigilant as our collective commitment ... to protect vulnerable friends, family, community," Redfield said.
With that in mind, the CDC has laid out some recommendations for celebrating that should sound pretty familiar by now. "When you must go out into the community, being in contact with few people is better than many, shorter periods are better than longer, and contact at greater distance, ideally, at least six feet, are better than closer," Redfield said.
At the same press conference, Dr. Jay Butler, the CDC’s COVID-19 incident manager, also urged people to keep gatherings small and practice social distancing. "Gatherings that are smaller are better than gatherings that are large," Butler said. "Being able to maintain social distance or physical distance, at least six feet, is better than being in closer proximity. Being outdoors is probably better than being indoors."
Butler also said that "being around people who are wearing face coverings is better" than socializing with people who are not wearing masks.
"We do recognize that families will want to be together over the holidays, but being able to minimize the people that you are around, particularly people that you have not been around in the past, is particularly important," Butler said.
The CDC isn't the only health organization making recommendations on how to celebrate this Fourth of July. The Oregon Health Authority issued a statement with tips on how to safely enjoy the holiday:
- Stay home if you’re sick or if you have an underlying medical condition that puts you at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
- If you host a gathering, provide hand sanitizer or give people easy access to places where they can frequently wash their hands.
- Adjust your food offerings to avoid sharing utensils and offer individual servings. Don’t share drinks.
- During and afterward thoroughly clean all frequently touched areas your guests have access to.
- Wear a mask if you cannot maintain six feet of physical distance.
Families can still celebrate the Fourth of July, of course. The CDC has released guidelines on how to host a backyard BBQ safely, for instance, encouraging people to stay outdoors, arrange chairs six feet apart, ask guests to bring their own food and drinks, and provide hand sanitizer are just a few tips. With a little extra planning, celebrating the holiday can still be a blast. Just without the crowds.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here.