Here’s to a joyful — and safe — July Fourth!

The fireworks have been cancelled. There will be no parades. It would be easy to feel nothing but blue on this tricolor holiday. 

But don’t let the pandemic ruin your Fourth of July. There are still plenty of ways to celebrate — without putting your friends, family or neighbors at risk of getting COVID-19. 

Throw some ribs on the barbecue or grill up some tofu and veggies, if you prefer. Stock up the cooler with ice-cold drinks and crank up an all-American playlist.  

Even with the governor’s Safe Start restrictions, it’s okay to gather in the backyard with family and a small group of close friends. (Invite no more than five people from outside your home during the course of a week.) 

Be sure to take these simple precautions while celebrating: 

  • Wear a cloth face covering, unless a medical condition makes this risky for you. (Face coverings are now as American as apple pie.) 
  • Maintain six feet of distance from others. 
  • Wash or sanitize your hands frequently and thoroughly. 
  • Celebrate outdoors if you can. If you’re gathering inside, open some doors and windows to promote air circulation. 
  • Avoid large gatherings. 

Infection rates have been rising in King County and elsewhere, spreading most rapidly among young people in their 20s and 30s, especially those who attend large parties. (UW is battling an outbreak that has infected at least 66 students who live in fraternity houses.) 

Young people are less likely to be hospitalized or die due to COVID-19, but anyone can spread the virus, even if they don’t show symptoms.  

Everyone is vulnerable, regardless of age, and all of us must take precautions to protect friends and loved ones. The virus is especially dangerous to older people and those with preexisting health issues such as high blood pressure, asthma or diabetes.  

Although the Seattle show has been canceled, you can stream fireworks live from New York or watch the Capitol Fourth celebration in Washington, D.C. An advantage to streaming fireworks shows from the East Coast is the time difference: you can bundle the kids off to bed at a reasonable hour, or when the fireworks are over, you have plenty of time to cap off your evening by streaming a holiday movie

Whatever you do, celebrate responsibly.  

What could be more patriotic than protecting your compatriots from a nasty disease? 

Originally published on July 2, 2020