Interior Secretary David Bernhardt requested people planning to attend the “Salute to America” fireworks celebration on Saturday in Washington will assume “personal responsibility” in not spreading coronavirus.
Bernhardt said he discussed the issue with D.C Mayor Muriel Bowser, who is against the event as a poses a high risk to public health.
He also said in an interview that those attending will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks and socially distance themselves.
“We’ve encouraged social distancing. We’re providing a wide variety of facial coverings, and we have a lot of space in Washington, D.C. We have about 800 acres, which is the equivalent of 606 football fields of space,” Bernhardt said.
According to organizers, a tribute to America’s fight against the pandemic will be part of the event celebrations.
“The American people have shown tremendous courage and spirit, particularly our amazing frontline workers, in the fight against this global pandemic just as our forefathers did in the fight to secure our independence,” the White House said in an announcement. Also Read– Man dies from Independence Day fireworks
The administration will provide hand sanitizer only to invited guests, including health care workers, members of the military, and the police department, according to sources.
‘Salute to America’ event violates health guidelines
The celebrations will include music, aircraft flyovers, military demonstrations, and massive fireworks display.
Bowser said her office had informed the Interior Department that the event infringes upon health guidelines set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“We are giving D.C. residents the same message about any of their outings for the holiday weekend,” she said “Ask yourself, ‘Do you need to be there?'”
Furthermore, Bernhardt said he trusts the American people to attend the event and be safe.
“A key component of deciding what to do — for all individuals — should be an element of personal responsibility,” he said. “If you are someone that’s infirm or has a highly vulnerable condition, my view would be you should maybe watch the great fireworks display — which will be incredible — from your home at this point in time.”
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There are currently 2.8 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the United States and more than 130,000 deaths.