It’s the Fourth of July!
Head to the beach, have a cookout, and watch fireworks with your friends and family.
But this year – probably not.
Obviously the situation is a little different.
With coronavirus cases rising all over America, local and state officials are urging families to stay home and remember that despite the holiday, we’re still in the midst of a pandemic.
Some local governments are taking a step further and shutting down certain venues for the weekend to prevent large gatherings that could cause a spike in COVID cases. For example, in Los Angeles County, where Evolve Treatment Centers is based, all beaches will be closed. In-person events are canceled, too. In other counties, eateries and restaurants will be closed as well.
So how can teens celebrate Independence Day this year?
We have seven suggestions.
Top Seven Ways to Celebrate 4th of July During COVID-19
1. Virtual fireworks.
Yes, we know watching fireworks on a screen doesn’t hold a candle (no pun intended) to the real thing. But unless you live in an area where you can watch fireworks from your window, balcony, or backyard, skip the live viewing this year. That is, if there are any in-person fireworks shows are still on. Several counties have banned all professional displays this year. Another alternative is to see if your county is organizing a drive-up fireworks display, where families can drive to a set area and watch the pyrotechnics from the safety of their cars.
2. Glow sticks, not sparklers.
With most fireworks shows cancelled, you may be tempted to light your own fireworks in your backyard. This is not a smart idea. Fireworks are extremely hazardous. In 2017 they caused eight deaths and more than 10,000 injuries. Plus, they’re illegal in many cities. Teens caught with fireworks in San Diego, for example, can face a $1,000 fine and/or 1 year in jail. Even sparklers can land you in the emergency room. So, ditch these fire hazards. Instead, get creative with glow-in-the-dark sticks, necklaces, and bracelets. Better yet, get some black lights and throw a black-light party for your immediate family members!
3. Apple pie.
What better way to celebrate Independence Day than making the most quintessentially American dessert that exists? Whether you do it independently or get your siblings/parents involved, baking can be a fun activity that can occupy you for a couple of hours (depending, of course, on your skill level.) Not only will you feel amazingly productive once you take out the pie from the oven, your whole house will smell divine. Which brings us to our next idea…
4. Picnic at home.
Skip the parks and the beaches. These public outdoor areas will be overrun with people, and chances are social-distancing rules will fly out the window. Instead, buy some hot dogs, burgers, and buns, and do some grilling in your backyard. Cut some fresh watermelon, place a blanket on your grass or floor, and play some ocean sounds on your laptop or tablet. Voila: you brought the beach to your house!
5. Drive-in movies.
A drive-in movie can be a fun way to celebrate July 4th, whether at night or during the day. You’re safe in your car, with your immediate family members, so there’s no concern about spreading infectious germs. Bring along some popcorn and you’re all set. Don’t know of any drive-in movies near you over the weekend? Set up a movie projector outside in your backyard and watch a movie under the stars.
6. Fly your flags.
If you feel patriotic, decorate your house with American flags. Your front yard, windows, and backyard are all potential spots to show off the stars-and-stripes. Don’t want to head out to the store to buy a flag? Make your own using simple materials like construction paper, sticks, and markers/stickers. To really get in the spirit of the holiday, you can even decorate your facemask red, white, and blue.
7. Virtual concerts and events.
Your local neighborhood paper may advertise some virtual Independence Day parties and events. For example, in downtown Los Angeles, Grand Park will host a virtual block party. There’ll be a three-hour livestream of music, cooking demos, and local comedy. The Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, will host a virtual concert on the Fourth, with performances including “This Land is Your Land.”
Of course, as long as you stay safe and follow social-distancing guidelines, any way you celebrate Independence Day is fine – even if it’s just with Netflix and some takeout.
Here’s to a happy and safe Fourth of July!