Celebrating the 4th of July Safely During COVID-19
The Fourth of July holiday is once again upon us and even though it is a time to celebrate, we must stay vigilant if we want to keep ourselves independent from COVID-19. This doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves and celebrate a little over the weekend, we just have to remember our local county guidance and be willing to plan a little bit. Find out what UT Health Austin internal medicine specialist Scott Selinger, MD, FACP, has to say.
This may not be the best year to get the biggest backyard BBQ going. We should keep our gatherings to groups of 10 people or less, or even 3 people or less if someone is older or has a major medical condition. If you’re going to have people over who haven’t been sheltering with you, it’s important to have masks and sanitizer handy.
Masks should definitely be worn whenever you go inside a business, including restaurants, because it’s tough to keep your distance from other customers as well as the people who work there. You may come and go, but they’re the ones breathing recirculated air for the rest of their shift. Outside of businesses, masks are important anytime you’re going to be in a crowd, which we’re generally trying to avoid, and when you’re going to be within six feet of people outside your group of close contacts, including outdoor dining, busy parks, lakes, and beaches.
Keep some sanitizer in your car, on your keychain, backpack, and by your front door and plenty of soap on hand. If you’re having others over, it’s a neighborly deed to make sure they have access to it, too, when they show up.
If you’ve decided to invite people over, ideally people should try to bring their own food, too. Avoid a big buffet style meal where a lot of people are leaning in close to the food, breathing on it, and touching it. Anything coming off the grill should go directly on to somebody’s plate. A phenomenal host might be wearing a mask and gloves and making ready-to-go plates for people to grab. Disposable utensils are a good idea as are individual bags of chips and snack bags. People should try to sit in the groups they came with, far enough away from other groups that you could safely put a sparkler between them.
If you are going to be traveling, it’s all the same big points: washing your hands frequently, wearing a mask as much as possible, and keeping your distance from other people.
Fireworks kind of handle themselves. They’re good for keeping people away from you and everybody should be spreading out far enough that they can get a good view. Remember to check your city ordinances to see if fireworks are allowed in your area and always follow safety guidelines and precautions when using fireworks at home.
Final Takeaway Messages
This weekend is going to be like one of those fireworks that you lit and then you wait and it seems like it isn’t going to light. You want to go in and check on it because you feel like you’re missing out on the fun, but the safest thing to do is just hang back where you are and keep on keepin’ on.
Now, if you are not feeling well, having trouble breathing, or having chest pain, do not be afraid to seek emergency help because our emergency care centers are taking a lot of precautions. It is probably safer to go and get checked out than to stay home and try to wait out something serious, because of a fear of COVID-19.