How to Enjoy the Fourth of July Responsibly During COVID-19

July 02, 2020

girl celebrating July 4th safely during COVID-19 Denver Health

We know that celebrating the Fourth of July during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is going to look a lot different than it normally does.

Denver Health's infectious disease and public health experts say it is possible to still have a good time, but now is not the time to get too comfortable and forget about the responsible things we have all been doing to help slow the spread of the virus.

Tips on How to Celebrate July 4th With Others and Stay Safe

A long weekend is a great opportunity to get outdoors, but please do it responsibly. Everyone should continue to wear a face covering or mask around others, consistently wash their hands or use hand hygiene products and maintain social distance to help keep each other safe.

Denver Health's experts have this advice if you are planning on attending any gatherings, such as a barbecue – use your best judgment when considering socializing outside of your home. It's reasonable in this current climate to ask those around you to also put on their face coverings, particularly if they are within six feet of your space. We should feel comfortable giving each other reminders to stay safe.

These reminders are especially important as Colorado has recently seen a small spike in COVID-19 cases among young people. Remember, the biggest reason to wear a mask is not for your own safety, it's for the safety of others. A mask is the most basic way to protect against exposure to respiratory droplets that could spread COVID-19. "Even if you're young and just have a mild disease, the concern is that you'll transmit it to somebody more vulnerable," pointed out Denver Health Chief Medical Officer Connie Price.

Concerns About Fourth of July Fireworks Injuries During COVID-19

Denver Health Paramedics and the Denver Health emergency department team are concerned that we could see an increase in fireworks injuries on the Fourth of July this year because with all the public fireworks shows that have been canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, more people may decide to set off fireworks at home.

Denver Health experts urge you to keep your family and children safe and do not light fireworks at home.

Watch: Denver Health Paramedics and other safety officials "Don't Light Fireworks" message on the Denver Police Department's Facebook page.

In 2019, Denver Health Paramedics responded to 324 calls on the 4th of July, according to Capt. Julia Arellano. The typical calls are for alcohol intoxication, unconsciousness, falls and traffic accidents, but fireworks injuries are top of mind.

Common Fireworks Injuries

Fireworks, including sparklers, are dangerous and can cause serious injuries and burns. In 2018, over 9,000 injuries related to fireworks were treated in emergency departments and burn units throughout the U.S., with 50 percent of those being injuries to individuals under the age of 20. The hands, fingers, face and eyes are the most common parts of the body that are injured by fireworks. Many injuries related to fireworks are from carelessly playing with the devices or lighting them while holding them. In addition to causing serious injuries and starting fires, fireworks can create anxiety and stress among pets and veterans who have PTSD.

Other Fourth of July Safety Reminders

The Denver Health Paramedics want to make sure that you enjoy the holiday, but also want to remind everyone to be safe and responsible when it comes to grilling, enjoying water activities like boating and swimming and to be diligent about driving sober. Impaired driving puts you, and those around you, at risk for serious accidents. Be safe on the road and find a ride if you have been drinking that evening.

We want to see everyone have a safe and fun Fourth of July holiday!