Fourth of July weekend is upon us and with many people traveling in and out of town and gathering in large numbers, the risk for exposure and infection for COVID-19 dramatically increases.

Although the novel coronavirus has proven it has no plans of slowing down, that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun while maintaining precautions that will protect you and your loved ones. Regardless of how you are celebrating our nation’s independence, it’s important to follow the below safety tips and guidelines:

Food & drinks

While preparing food, it’s important to keep all foods at its proper temperature to avoid any food spoiling, especially meats or fish. To avoid cross-contamination of germs or a virus do not share food and drinks. If you’re celebrating in a small, socially distant gathering,  use clean personal utensils to serve themselves to avoid touching the same serving utensils.

Avoid large groups of people

It’s important to practice social distancing from large crowds and if you’re hosting a small group, it’s recommended to limit your headcount to 10 or less to help control who you’re exposing yourself and others too.

Enjoy the outdoors

Although it’s summer in Arizona, it’s recommended that you celebrate outdoors as the likelihood of contracting the virus outside compared to indoors is significantly less. If you decide to celebrate outside, it’s critical to drink plenty of water in order to avoid dehydration.

While you’re outside celebrating, it’s easy to lose sight of children so it’s highly recommended that parents and those around supervise children at pools and lakes at all times. A recommended practice is to designate one adult to observe children in the water and if that adult needs to step away for any reason, they assign another to take over.

Additionally, wearing proper sun protection including sunscreen and face coverings is highly recommended when celebrating outside. It’s common for cases of sun poisoning to increase around this time of year so to avoid this, wear a hat, sunglasses, and reapply sunscreen with a high SPF throughout the day.

Be responsible with fireworks

With many places canceling public firework displays, it’s enticing to purchase your own fireworks. If you do buy fireworks, it’s suggested that you read and follow all directions and precautions listed on the fireworks package. Avoid lighting fireworks in your hands to prevent burns and injuries and be cognizant of the potential for causing fires given the current landscape is high risk.

Enjoy the celebration from home

Ultimately, if you have a chronic illness or live with someone who does, it’s highly recommended that you stay home. There are ways to watch like A Capitol Fourth on PBS or you can take a virtual tour of the Smithsonian or 31 of our national parks. It is not worth leaving the house and catching or spreading coronavirus.


Carrie Bates, P.A., is an area medical manager overseeing eight FastMed Urgent Care clinics in the Phoenix Metro area and Florence. Her background is in family medicine and urgent care. She earned her B.A. in biology from Arizona State University and M.S. in physician assistant studies from AT Still University. She is a fitness enthusiast and is a former Division 1 athlete, playing on ASU’s women’s basketball team.