Beach parties, fireworks and cookouts are just a few of typical ways that Americans celebrate July 4th, each year. While it’s still possible to celebrate your independence and even do so around loved ones or friends, your fourth celebrations will definitely need to look different this year to keep yourself and those in your community safe from covid 19.

Many experts have traced the rise in positive covid cases to Memorial Day weekend celebrations, when many states opened up and communities began to gather closely again. To avoid this happening in your community, it’s important to find safe ways to celebrate without increasing your risk for transmission.

Since we know that one primary way covid 19 spreads is through the spread of respiratory droplets, it’s important to engage in activities that allow you to safely distance yourself 6 feet away from others. It’s also a good idea to avoid crowds, sharing food and becoming intoxicated.Getting outdoors is the best way to gather this year, but if you choose to do so, make sure that your group has been properly screened and that all individuals maintain that 6 feet apart distance.

Here are 5 ways to safely celebrate the fourth during covid 19.

Celebrate Outside
There is still much we don’t know about covid 19, but what we do know is that transmission is more likely indoors, when respiratory droplets have nowhere to disperse and are more likely to end up on or near us. This July 4th, celebrate your independence by heading outdoors, and take your family or loved ones on a socially distanced hike, bike ride or walk. Exploring nature and breathing fresh air are great ways to acknowledge the freedoms we enjoy while staying safe and reducing spread.

Wear a Mask in a Crowd
If you do happen to venture out to the beach or a public gathering space, plan to wear a mask. Even outdoors, crowds can increase the likelihood of transmission, as it becomes harder to distance safely. While wearing a mask at the beach might sound terrible, consider wearing it only when in crowded situations. If you can, try to situate yourself at a distance of 6 to 10 feet from others, and maintain that distance at all times.

Skip the Beach
On a holiday weekend like the 4th, there are likely to be big crowds at local beaches. If possible, skip the beach and choose to spend time at the pool or outdoors at a shady park. Relax on your patio or balcony or spread a picnic blanket on the green lawn behind our community and enjoy a distanced picnic with loved ones in the sun. Whatever you do, try to avoid crowded spaces.

BYO Everything
While the 4th might be a time you usually love to enjoy a potluck party or whip up traditional holiday foods to share with the ones you love, this year, avoid sharing food and drinks. While it isn’t as communal to bring your own food and drinks, sharing can increase the risk for transmission. If you’re meeting friends or family at a park for a picnic or inviting a few loved ones to relax on your patio, encourage everyone to BYO and maintain distance during eating and drinking.

Avoid Heavy Alcohol Consumption
While enjoying a cocktail with friends probably won’t be cause for major concern, heavy alcohol consumption can impair your senses and cause you to be less careful. Staying safe and keeping yourself and your loved ones healthy is important, so skip the extra drinks and opt for a more clear-eyed and relaxed Independence Day.