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A COVID-19 4th of July

Photo by Helen Arase

Location

Alhambra , CA

This July 4 weekend is probably different from all other holidays most have experienced – except for a few who were alive during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

If you’re a law-abiding resident of the San Gabriel Valley concerned about your health and that of others around you, you’ll be hanging out with the rest of your household this weekend, according to the latest Health Officer Order.

Yes, religious holidays observed in spring were affected; public health officials asked residents not to gather, and the county did have a Health Officer Order in effect. However, none of the religious holidays are observed by the entire nation, all at once.

This particular holiday, Independence Day, is a nationwide celebration, marked with large social gatherings, parades, fireworks and travel to weekend destinations like the beach or lake.

This year, the nation is in the midst of a pandemic, marked with illness, travel restrictions and deaths – and that’s just the COVID-19. There is also an economic depression, high unemployment rates and mass protests against racism and inequality sweeping the nation, to name a few.

In L.A. County, COVID-19 cases have soared in the last week, to the point that health officials have hit the brakes on reopening plans, closed some business sectors again and the governor has put the county on a “monitoring list,” most of which are in Southern California, with additional restrictions.

Every announcement of the reopening was met with press questions of whether the county was moving too fast. L.A. County makes up a quarter of the state’s population of 40 million people, but about half the coronavirus cases and deaths are here – 105,000 of the 240,000 reported cases and 3,100 of 6,100 deaths.

For nearly a week, the county’s reported cases per 24 hours have been over 2,000, with sharp increases in hospitalizations and ventilator usage, reaching hospitalization levels of early May. (To see the daily press releases with public health’s analysis, go to the public health site. To see visualizations, go to the COVID-19 Surveillance Dashboard.)

So, if you are going to observe this July 4 holiday weekend, there have been amendments to the Health Officer Order, and here is what is not allowed (again):

From July 3 through July 6, closed or banned are:

  • public beaches
  • piers
  • beach bike paths and access point
  • beach parking lots
  • fireworks shows, including that at Almansor Park, and other events

Generally, closed are:

  • Bars, tasting rooms, wineries with or without a food preparation license
  • In-person dining at restaurants for at least the next 21 days, including those in shopping malls
  • Entertainment venues such as movie theaters, arcades or batting cages
  • Racetracks, cardrooms and other wagering facilities
  • Indoor portions of exhibits at museums, zoos and aquariums for at least the next 21 days

Also new to the Health Officer Order is a protocol for management of businesses with positive COVID-19 cases. For specific health guidelines for each type of business or location, go to the Los Angeles County health department’s website; under the “What You Should Know” section, there is the “Health Officer Order” dropdown section.

By state and county law, you still must:

  • Wear a face covering over your nose and mouth anytime you are outside of your home or near people who are not part of your household.
  • You must follow quarantine and self-isolation orders if you have been exposed or diagnosed with COVID-19.

If you’re in the City of Alhambra, parking enforcement has been suspended Friday through Sunday; ticketing will begin again at 2 a.m. Monday.

Trash pick-up for commercial and industrial businesses might be affected. Call Republic Services at 800-229-4898.

The firework show at Almansor Park is cancelled, and illegal fireworks are still prohibited. The city has an info and tip page for “Safe and Sane” fireworks.

To report illegal fireworks, call the police’s non-emergency dispatch at 626-570-5151. The city is requesting “an much information as possible regarding the location.”

Even if you do not think this pandemic is serious, or that you are healthy enough to recover from an illness or you just want to get back to the way life was before safer-at-home orders, observing July 4 in a safe and lawful manner protects those who are medically fragile, elderly and concerned about their health and that of others.

As L.A. County Department of Public Health said a few weeks ago at a press briefing, “it’s not about you.

Be safe, San Gabriel Valley.

Thank you for reading our story! Alhambra Source is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Our newsroom reports fact-based quality journalism that educates, informs and engages our diverse communities - with no paywall. Support our mission and donate today!

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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