DC Mayor Muriel Bowser called on residents of the District and visitors to spend this Independence Day at home to avoid the risk of coronavirus exposure.
“We want to send a message to our residents to enjoy the Fourth of July, to celebrate, according to our guidance, and to do it at home,” Bowser said on Thursday.
The mayor warned that people should keep in mind not only on July 4 but in general that the pandemic has not disappeared yet, while the city is moving through its Phase Two reopening.
“So our strong recommendation is that D.C. residents celebrate the 4th of July at home, or near their home, in small gatherings,” she added.
“We of course know that the White House has already announced its plans and the National Park Service will conduct the fireworks to celebrate the nation’s birthday. We will continue to support those activities in the way that we have traditionally, but we hope that the crowds that come in non-pandemic years won’t materialize this year.”
Bowser urged everyone to either stay home or get together in small groups in their neighborhood. However, gatherings cannot be more than 50 individuals due to the coronavirus measures in Phase Two.
The mayor’s office also shared a COVID-19 situational update Thursday, June 25, saying “Celebrate the Fourth of July at home. Large outdoor gatherings are still high risk, especially when people are close together and unable to properly social distance.”
DC saw 31 new cases of coronavirus Thursday, which brought the total number of reported cases to 10,159. The death toll from the disease has reached 543, with two more deaths.
According to DC Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, the District is in no position to talk about Phase Three of reopening yet.
On the other hand, President Donald Trump is still planning to host a “Salute to America” celebration together with First Lady Melania Trump on the South Lawn of the White House and the Ellipse on Saturday, July 4, despite health concerns raised by officials.
There will be music, military demonstrations, flyovers, fireworks, and a speech from the president as part of the event.
On May 26, a group of politicians wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, warning about possible risks of a parade during the pandemic.
“Given the current COVID-19 crisis, we believe such an event would needlessly risk the health and safety of thousands of Americans. Further, this event would come at the cost of millions of taxpayer dollars while we are facing an unprecedented economic downturn due to the pandemic,” the lawmakers said in their statement.