COVID-19 Story Tip: Celebrating Independence Day Safely Amid a Pandemic


July Fourth is typically a day for fireworks and outdoor barbecues. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way Americans are honoring independence this year. Many celebrations across the country have been canceled or postponed due to restrictions on large gatherings.

If you plan to get together with friends, family members or loved ones, there are some precautions to consider. Lisa Maragakis, M.D., M.P.H., senior director of infection prevention for the Johns Hopkins Health System, recommends following current, local public health and safety guidance when hosting or attending a gathering this holiday. Limiting the size of the party, practicing physical distancing (at least 6 feet apart when possible) and wearing masks or other face coverings are important. If weather permits, Maragakis says outdoor parties are typically safer than indoor get-togethers, because the coronavirus that causes COVID-19 is more likely to be transmitted in enclosed spaces. Also, remember to always wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before cooking, handling food or eating to help prevent spreading or contracting the coronavirus.

Maragakis is available for media interviews to provide recommendations for safely celebrating this Independence Day.

For information from Johns Hopkins Medicine about the coronavirus pandemic, visit For information on the coronavirus from throughout the Johns Hopkins enterprise, including the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and The Johns Hopkins University, visit