3 Tips for a Fun, Safe 4th of July During COVID-19
Independence Day celebrations may look a little different this year, but it’s still possible to have a good time while minimizing the risk of spreading COVID-19. These three tips can help your family stay safe as you have a fun 4th of July.
Tip 1: Limit the Number of People at Gatherings
The risk of spreading COVID-19 grows as the number of people increases, so if you’re planning to host a 4th of July celebration, limit the number of people you invite. Currently in North Carolina, indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people.
While you’re celebrating with your guests, make sure everyone stays outdoors, wears masks and remains 6 feet apart. Additionally, make sure everyone sticks to these strategies throughout your party – meaning you are just as strict about social distancing at the end as you were at the beginning.
Think carefully about who you will invite. Will they be safe and comfortable going to a group gathering? Will your family feel safe and comfortable around them? If anyone feels sick or may have been exposed to COVID-19, it’s best for them to stay home.
Tip 2: Practice Firework Safety
Each year around July 4th, an average of 180 Americans visit the emergency room for fireworks injuries, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. It’s best to leave the fireworks shows to the professionals – but if you do plan to light them yourself at home, remember to:
- Use fireworks far away from any buildings, including your house.
- Don’t use fireworks on dry grass or near any leaves, trees or shrubbery.
- Know the location of other people, your kids and your pets at all times. Don’t let them stand close while setting off fireworks.
Whether you’re watching fireworks on TV or in your own backyard, remember to practice social distancing between yourself and other people who don’t live in the same house as you do.
Tip 3: Remember Food Safety Guidelines and Practice Social Distancing While Eating
If you’re planning to eat with your guests, reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19 by avoiding shared food items like bowls of chips or make-your-own burgers, hotdogs and sandwiches. Instead, have individually plated or wrapped portions for each person. Replace shared beverage dispensers and pitchers with individual cans or bottles.
It’s also important to keep food safety guidelines in mind – warm summer temperatures combined with food that’s left out for too long can lead to food poisoning. To avoid spoiled food:
- Keep your cooked foods at a temperature above 140 degrees and your chilled foods at a temperature below 40 degrees.
- Pack up and chill your leftovers as soon as you can. Bacteria grows fast at room temperature – two hours is the maximum time food can sit out. If it’s hotter than 90 degrees, then the longest food can sit out is one hour.
While you eat, keep a safe distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and those who don’t live with you. Wash your hands before eating, and afterwards, remember to put your mask back on safely.