SPOKANE, Wash. - Fourth of July weekend is coming, but what does that mean during a pandemic? Spokane County Health Officer Dr. Bob Lutz wants to remind people to wear cloth face coverings and to distance from others.
Lutz said that since Memorial Day, both locally and nationally, positive cases have increased significantly.
Prior to Memorial Day, Spokane had 450 positive COVID-19 cases. Today, June 29, there are over 1300 cases.
When talking about risk, Lutz said outdoor activities are of lower risk, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't wear a mask or take precautionary measures.
Lutz said to keep your mask handy, keep it with your sunscreen or hand sanitizer and use it.
"I encourage you to please do that, it really is a very simple thing that you can be doing to impact our numbers and prevent the spread of infection," Lutz said of wearing face coverings.
Spokane Regional Health District - Guidelines for Fourth of July Activities:
- Picnics/BBQs: Stay in smaller groups of people. You don't need to wear a mask when you're eating, but if you're up and walking around, wear a mask. Enjoy the parks, but wear a mask and keep your distance from others. Hand sanitize and wash hands regularly.
- Camping: If you arrive to a camp site and it's packed, find somewhere else to go. If you're backpacking or participating in day hikes and you come across somebody, give them space and wear a mask.
- Playgrounds: If you arrive to a playground and it's packed, come back later. Be prepared and bring a ball or frisbee to pass the time. After playing, hand sanitize or wash hands. Parents: Remember to keep a distance.
- Aquatics: Even though health officials know COVID-19 isn't transmitted through water, still keep a distance from others while in the water and on any decks leading up to water. From a non-COVID-19 point, always wear safety gear when participating in water sports.
For more information on how to recreate safely during the COVID-19 pandemic, click here.
When it comes to fireworks, this is the 28th year that fireworks have been banned in Spokane County. Assistant Fire Marshall Lance Dahl, speaking for the Spokane Fire Department, said people should leave it to the professionals and view fireworks from an arranged event for the public.
Illegal possession or use of fireworks can result in a $536 infraction each violation.
The City of Spokane Parks Department collaborated with the Spokane Indians Baseball Club, Spokane County Parks Recreation, Spokane Public Schools and numerous underwriters to provide four different firework shows across the county.
Locations include: Dwight Merkel Sports Complex, Ferris High School, Avista Stadium and Plante's Ferry Sports Stadium.
Fireworks at all locations will begin at 10 p.m on July 4. Parking lots will be closed until 9 p.m. Vehicles will be parked in every other stall, making sure that there's a 10-foot distance between each car.
Guests must remain in their vehicles unless they're going to the bathroom. If this happens, guests are asked to wear a cloth face covering.
Security staff will be at each location ensuring protocols are being followed, handing out flyers and hand sanitizer.
"It's gonna look a little bit different but we're excited to say 'yes' on this one and have something that's safe for the public this Fourth of July," Director of Parks and Recreation for Spokane Garrett Jones said.