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Don’t Go To Big Barbecues, Fireworks Shows This 4th Of July, Top Doc Says

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic makes it risky to have parties or gatherings with crowds — especially as other places are seeing big increases in cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Fireworks go off on the Fourth of July over the Logan Square neighborhood in July 2018.
Colin Boyle/Block Club Chicago
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CHICAGO — The city’s top doctor is asking Chicagoans to avoid big celebrations during the Fourth of July weekend.

Dr. Allison Arwady, head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, said coronavirus is on the rise all around Chicago — but so far, the city has stayed flat. Hoping to prevent the spread of COVID-19 here, Arwady asked people to keep social distancing, wearing masks and more during the long weekend.

“I really am asking people to celebrate the Fourth of July in a way that does not bring together big crowds,” Arwady said during a livestreamed Q&A Thursday.

The city has canceled major Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks shows, like those usually at Navy Pier.

But Arwady said she’s concerned about the uptick of coronaviruses cases and hospitalizations all around Chicago — including in the rest of Illinois — and urged people to keep taking safety precautions during smaller celebrations, too.

Those precautions include staying 6 feet away from others, not gathering in big crowds, wearing face masks and washing hands and frequently touched surfaces.

Traditional barbecues are OK, but only with members of your household or a few guests, Arwady said.

“Frankly, with a lot of the concerning increases that we’re seeing around us, it is not a time to be inviting a lot of people into the city,” Arwady said. “And it’s not a time for us to be doing unnecessary gathering.

“So, please, celebrate the Fourth, have your backyard barbecue with the people you live with or with a few other people. Keep the social distancing. Wear the face coverings. These are the things that have kept us in better shape than a lot of other places, and we’ve got to hold onto this.”

People who do leave the city for the long weekend should set a good example to others by social distancing, wearing face coverings, avoiding crowds and not taking unnecessary risks, Arwady said.

“We’re gonna celebrate the Fourth in a different way than we have before, but it is necessary,” Arwady said. “If we get into trouble, we’ll take steps backwards, as we’ve seen in other places.”

Multiple cities and states have had to take steps back in their reopening plans — closing down bars, restaurants and more — due to sharp increases in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations and deaths recently.

The United States reported nearly 50,000 new coronavirus cases in the last day, and health officials throughout the country have said they’re deeply worried the pandemic is not under control.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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