TULSA, OK – [July 1, 2020] – The 4th of July is a day to celebrate Uncle Sam, enjoy the summer weather and spend time with family and friends. Independence Day during a global pandemic is also a time for enhanced health and safety precautions.
“Any time you have a gathering of people, there is an increased risk of spreading COVID-19,” said Tulsa Health Department Executive Director Dr. Bruce Dart. “We understand many people are going to gather in large groups this weekend, so we are issuing the following recommendations to do so as safely as possible.”
Keep these public health precautions in mind as you plan your 4th of July celebration safely.
Remind guests to stay home if they are sick
Remind invited guests to stay home if they have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days or are showing COVID-19 symptoms.
Anyone who has had close contact with a person who has COVID-19 should also stay home and monitor their health. Invited guests who live with those at higher risk should also consider the potential risk to their loved ones.
Consider keeping a list of guests who attended for potential future contract tracing needs.
Encourage social distancing
Host your gathering outdoors, when possible. If this is not feasible, make sure the room or space is well-ventilated (for example, open a window).
Arrange tables and chairs to allow for social distancing. People from the same household can be in groups together and don’t need to be 6 feet apart – just 6 feet away from other families.
If planning activities for adults and/or kids, consider those where social distancing can be maintained, like sidewalk chalk art or frisbee.
When guests arrive, minimize gestures that promote close contact. For example, don’t shake hands, do elbow bumps, or give hugs. Instead wave and verbally greet them.
Wear cloth face coverings
Wear cloth face coverings when less than 6 feet apart from people or indoors.
Consider providing face coverings for guests or asking them to bring their own.
Clean hands often
Consider providing hand sanitizer in addition to clearly marked hand washing areas.
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds when entering and exiting social gatherings. If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
Make sure there is adequate soap or hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol available in the restrooms and encourage guests not to form a line at the door. Consider also providing cleaning supplies that allow guests to wipe down surfaces before they leave.
Remind guests to wash their hands before serving or eating food.
Use single-use hand towels or paper towels for drying hands so guests do not share a towel.
Limit the number of people handling or serving food
Encourage guests to bring their own food and drinks.
Limit people going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen or around the grill, if possible.
If serving any food, consider identifying one person to serve all food so that multiple people are not handling the serving utensils.
Use single-use options or identify one person to serve sharable items, like salad dressings, food containers, and condiments, so that multiple people are not handling the items.
Limit contact with commonly touched surfaces or shared items
Use touchless garbage cans or pails.
Use gloves when removing garbage bags or handling and disposing of trash. Wash hands after removing gloves.
Clean and disinfect commonly touched surfaces and any shared items between use when feasible.
If you choose to use any shared items that are reusable (e.g., seating covers, tablecloths, linen napkins), wash, clean, and sanitize them after the event.
The Tulsa Health Department encourages Tulsa County residents who choose to go to any gathering or setting where people are in close contact with one another to take precautions such as wearing a mask, practice social distancing and frequently wash hands. Those who have attended a large indoor or outdoor gathering should monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days after the event and seek testing within 5-7 days while continuing to monitor symptoms, social distance, wash hands and wear a face covering in public.
The Tulsa Health Department is one of many sites in Tulsa County to offer COVID-19 testing. All local health care systems offer testing and there are additional sites listed on our website: www.tulsa-health.org/COVID19#testing.
The Tulsa Health Department will be closed on Friday in observance of Independence Day. The COVID-19 phone bank and testing appointments will be closed as well. Epidemiological investigations, including case notification and contact tracing, will continue to rapidly respond to confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community.
Additional Independence Day safety measures, including fireworks safety, food safety and mosquito prevention tips can be found on the Tulsa Health Department’s Wellness for Life Blog.
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