STAY SAFE: The Fourth of July is just ahead, a time when people typically enjoy the summer holiday with backyard barbecues, fireworks or water fun. But this year, celebrating Independence Day will be different due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The American Red Cross offers safety tips you can follow.

— Continue to social distance by staying 6 feet away from others, especially if you are at high risk for serious illness from COVID-19.

— Continue to wear cloth face coverings in public.

— Stay home if you are sick.


— Never give fireworks to small children, and never throw or point a firework toward people, animals, vehicles, structures or flammable materials.

— Keep a supply of water close by as a precaution.

— Make sure the person lighting fireworks always wears eye protection.

— Light only one firework at a time and never attempt to relight “a dud.”

— Store fireworks in a cool, dry place away from children and pets.


Grilling fires spark more than 10,000 home fires on average each year in the U.S. To avoid this:

— Always supervise a barbecue grill when in use.

— Never grill indoors.

— Make sure everyone stays away from the grill, including children and pets.


— Talk to your children, including older youth and teenagers, about water safety.

— If you choose to take your family to the water, make sure the area is designated for swimming and has lifeguards on duty. Once there, maintain social distancing, both in and out of the water, between you and people who don’t live with you.

— Wear face coverings on land, especially when physical distancing is difficult. Do not wear them in the water as it may be difficult to breathe. Don’t share goggles, nose clips, snorkels or other personal items.

— Designate a water watcher whose sole responsibility is to supervise people during any in-water activity until the next person takes over.

— Kiddie or inflatable pools can be a great way to have fun. Drain the water from the pool and flip it over after swim time is over.