Coronavirus Pandemic changes the way people are celebrating 4th of July this year

Health officials urge residents to practice social distancing and wearing masks during holiday weekend

JOPLIN, Mo – People are choosing different ways of celebrating the 4th of July this year because of COVID-19, like avoiding crowded areas.

“We’re going to camp grounds where there aren’t many people there…We decided to say away from everybody else. Avoid the big crowds of 4th of July fireworks and everything,” says Joplin resident John Freeman.

“My wife had cancer and so she is just being very cautious. We haven’t even gone back to church yet. We just watch online because she is just not comfortable with big groups. We’re just trying to be careful,” says Carthage resident Lowell Lane.

Joplin Health Department Director, Dan Pekarek, says you can have your get-together, but use smart practices at events.

“Bring your masks with you. Wear your masks. And keep spread out. Keep social distance while you’re doing your 4th of July activities,” adds Pekarek.

Anytime there are social activities with larger groups there will be more potential risk for an individual to be symptomatic or asymptomatic.

“The smaller the gathering the less number of individuals that could be exposed to that — to the disease. So the smaller the number the better. If you do have a gathering that’s where it becomes even more important that you do the social distancing and you do the masking and you do the hand washing,” Pekarek says.

If you’d like to celebrate the 4th of July, but feel unsafe gathering in groups, cities like Joplin are still holding fireworks shows that you can watch from your car.