Many Grant County residents will enjoy a three-day Independence Day weekend, but the coronavirus won’t be taking any days off.
Grant County Health Officer William David Moore said it is still recommended that people wear masks, practice social distancing of at least six feet, sanitize surfaces and wash hands often when attending picnics, barbecues or fireworks shows with people outside of your immediate family you have been in contact with.
Overall, Moore said Grant County residents have done a good job of flattening the curve of the virus and following guidelines, which has made it unnecessary for the county to issue stricter guidelines regarding mask wearing and social gatherings.
“We want to react to, we want to be aware of what can happen, but we want to react to what does happen, and in Grant County we seem to be doing well,” he said. “We want to have restrictions only if they’re necessary, if they change anything...I’m proud of the people here. We may need to change what we do if we see something different, but for right now what we’re doing is working.”
The City of Marion’s July 3 fireworks display has been moved from Matter Park to Ballard Field and all food vendors and musical performances have been canceled, steps Moore said will help encourage social distancing.
Moore said the community can still enjoy their 4th of July celebrations with friends and family while remembering to take the steps to fight against the spread of the virus. He noted Grant County has already demonstrated a good track record of being safe while in large crowds when protests following the death of George Floyd brought hundreds to downtown Marion in early June.
“We’ve had in Grant County particularly an event where the protests were going on and there were people who were together without that and it doesn’t seem to have created a big problem,” he said.
Moore acknowledged that following the safety guidelines isn’t always easy, but he encouraged everyone to wear masks and stay socially distant to the best of their ability.
“We talk about social distancing and wearing masks, and in the heat of the summer and with people that you haven’t seen for five, six months, that’s really hard to do,” he said.
Despite the uncertainty of the pandemic currently, Moore said he is optimistic of a light at the end of the tunnel while also preparing for worst case scenarios.
“We will be moving into less and less need for social distancing and mask wearing but aware of what is the pattern in our community, and if we see it start to tick up, particularly start to tick up in a dangerous way where we get hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths, that we’re prepared to respond to that,” he said. “Without that (uptick), then we can continue to learn what this new normal is going to be.”