WASHINGTON - The Trump administration is going ahead with plans to hold a traditional July Fourth celebration in Washington, D.C., complete with a massive fireworks display, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The plans for the “Salute to America” celebration announced Wednesday by the Interior Department include flyovers of military aircraft over the city’s National Mall and a 1.6-kilometer-long firing of 10,000 fireworks, which Interior Secretary David L. Bernhardt said “promises to be the largest in recent memory.”
The Interior Department is urging visitors at the Mall to keep a proper distance from each other, and will have as many as 300,000 face masks available for anyone who wants them, although it will not be mandatory to wear them.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany told reporters that President Donald Trump is encouraging people to follow the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to wear masks. But McEnany noted the guidelines are “recommended but not required and we are very much looking forward to the Fourth of July celebration.”
But Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser said she told federal officials the celebration does not align with the best guidance from the CDC and local health officials.
The coronavirus outbreak has prompted D.C. and many neighboring communities to cancel their own Independence Day celebrations.