The White House is not planning to cancel the Fourth of July celebration this year amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a statement.
A lower-key “Salute to America” that features music, military demonstrations, flyovers, fireworks, and remarks from the president will happen on Saturday, July 4.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump will be hosting the event on the South Lawn of the White House and the Ellipse.
Friday’s announcement followed concerns voiced by officials over the past few weeks.
Trump rolls out his plan for the Fourth of July: pic.twitter.com/dYfYkIK1TN
— Nicholas Wu (@nicholaswu12) June 19, 2020
Earlier this month, White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere confirmed in a statement that President Trump was still planning an Independence Day parade in DC this year, however, it would “have a different look than 2019 to ensure the health and safety of those attending.”
Deere said that Americans “deserve celebration on America’s birthday this year” as they have “shown tremendous courage and spirit in the fight against this global pandemic just as our forefathers did in the fight to secure our independence.”
The statement came after a letter penned by local politicians on May 26 addressing Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, warning about possible risks of a parade during the COVID-19 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 noted in their statement.
Last year’s Independence Day festivities saw the president’s speech for the first time, in addition to a parade along Constitution Avenue and a music performance by the National Symphony Orchestra.