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July 2, 2020

Gather Safe, Gather Small this Fourth of July 

The Fourth of July is this Saturday, and for many this is a time where we would gather together with friends and family to share sunshine, lawn games and food. However, in light of COVID-19 we are strongly encouraging everyone to gather safe, gather small this holiday.

What is gather small?

Gathering small means gathering with no more than five people from outside your immediate household. As we have learned throughout the pandemic, COVID-19 spreads quickly in large groups. The more people from outside your immediate household you see, the higher the likelihood that someone is contagious at the gathering and passes it on to others.

It also means that, in accordance with Dr. Leibrand’s guidance from early May, no large-scale summer events such as parades or fireworks shows should be taking place.

What is gather safe?

Gathering safe means:

  • Using proper physical distancing, staying six feet apart from anyone you don’t live with
  • Washing or sanitizing your hands frequently
  • Staying outside, or in a well ventilated area as much as possible
  • Limiting the duration of close contact, whenever possible and even when outside
  • Not sharing communal food (like a bowl of chips or potato salad that everyone dishes out of)
  • Not sharing drinks
  • Wear a mask at all times

It is tempting to get lax on this guidance when we are comfortable and in our home, or the home of a friend or extended family member, but remember: COVID-19 does not care where you are or who you are with. Anything that increases the number of people we have contact with or the proximity or duration of contact increases the risk of infection.

Gathering safe also means that anyone who is high risk for poor health outcomes associated with COVID-19 should stay home. Remember, last week the CDC expanded its guidelines on who is considered high risk. You can read more here.

One final note: be extra safe with your personal fireworks this year. We really do not need more people in our emergency rooms right now.