How to Safely Celebrate the 4th during COVID-19 Times
4th of July celebrations may look a little bit different for 2020.
While we are encouraged to keep up important social distancing and continue to
wear masks to slow the spread of COVID-19, we understand families still want to
celebrate America’s birthday. Memorial Hermann would like to help
ensure those celebrations can take place safely and that everyone is taking the
necessary steps to prevent health risks to themselves and those around them.
realize people have been itching to get out of their homes – we all feel like
we have been trapped for months and want to get some sunshine and play. But
there are ways to socialize safely,” says Matt Harting, M.D., pediatric trauma
surgeon and medical director of ECMO at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth and Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.
Harting answered some frequently asked questions on how to make sure you and
your family can celebrate safely this weekend.
Q: Is it safe to go to the beach if we’re not near anyone
other than our immediate family members?
Visiting a beach around a big group or gathering is not helpful or properly
socially distanced. Going to the beach with your immediate family and finding a
beach that is isolated is key to prevent unsafe disease transmission.
Q: Is it okay to gather with neighbors or family members if
we are doing so outside? If we gather with friends, should we all wear masks?
know that prolonged, close interactions without a mask dramatically increases
the risk disease transmission. The close conversation without a mask is
extremely. If everyone follows the CDC’s recommendations on wearing a mask and
keeping six feet apart from each other, that is the best and safest option to
Q: Is the recommendation that gatherings still stay under 10
A: Yes, if
you decide to gather, the lower number of people the better, for your safety
and their safety. Stay spread out. Sit in lawn chairs that are all spread out
from each other. Wear your mask. Large
gatherings are not recommended.
Q: Is it safe to put out shared appetizers if we have people
come over to our house?
people are touching are absolutely a way that COVID-19 can be transmitted from
person to person. Sharing food or appetizers could increase the risk of disease
transmission. Having separate servings is a safer option.
Q: How risky is it to visit a community pool?
more closed in you are in a small space, the more chance droplets from others
might stay in the air and be transmitted to you and increases your risk of
Q: How risky is it to picnic in a public park? Should we
wear masks when we’re sitting down, not close to other people?
A: If it
is just your immediate family who you live with in your home going to a picnic
or sharing a meal outdoors and everyone is in good health, it is very low risk
of disease transmission to share a meal while isolated.
Q: If my family is going on a road trip, is it safe to use
public restrooms while on the road?
time we go anywhere we touch our hands on things and make contact, often
unknowingly, with our surroundings. Stop and remember to wash your hands, and
also take hand sanitizer with you. Before you get back in your car and touch
anything, wash your hands and of course wear your mask at all times. Also,
minimize the time you spend in public places.
Q: If my family chooses to eat out for the holiday, what
precautions should we take? What precautions should we be looking for the
restaurant to take?
Taking your food to go is a safe option because it minimizes your exposure. If
you eat out at a restaurant, wash your hands, keep your mask on when you are
not eating and make sure there is plenty of space between you and other diners.
Q: Although many fireworks shows are canceled, how can
someone remain safe if they decide to attend a show?
you can enjoy the fireworks away from others that is the safest option. The
more people that are around, the more of a risk you run of exposing yourself
and your family to other people.
Q: If one of my family members gets injured over the
weekend, is it safe to seek treatment and where should we go?
Memorial Hermann, we take extreme precautions to protect our staff, you and
your family by taking temperature checks at the door and offering a protective
mask for all who enter our facilities. Do not avoid seeking medical treatment
for fear of exposure. Talk to your doctor first to decide how to handle minor
injuries. For any life threatening emergencies, call 911 immediately.