Georges BenjaminWith COVID-19 surging across the country, the best place to celebrate this year’s Fourth of July is at home. 

“We can enjoy the Fourth, but we have to keep health and safety our top priorities,” said APHA Executive Director Georges C. Benjamin, MD, in a statement.

“The risks of going about our normal July Fourth celebrations are simply too high. All of us — including our nation’s leaders — need to set an example and celebrate safely with the health of our fellow Americans in mind.”

This July Fourth, make sure to avoid large gatherings, keep at least six feet apart in public and wear a face mask if you can’t maintain safe physical distancing — even when outdoors.

Stay home if you are sick or have recently been exposed to the virus. If you do host a gathering, stay outdoors, keep it very small, wear face masks, provide hand sanitizer and limit the number of people handling or serving food. 

People heading out to the beach or pool should take the same precautions about crowds and distancing. In many communities, especially in places where hospitals are nearing capacity, the best decision is to stay home, Benjamin said.    

“This pandemic is nowhere near over,” he added. “It’s still extremely important we all work together to give our first responders a fighting chance. Please celebrate safely.”

Visit the Red Cross for more July Fourth safety tips.