Fourth of July during the pandemic: What Coloradans should know

Skip fireworks and campfires, officials say

By: - July 3, 2020 7:30 am

An American flag flies near the U.S. Capitol.

This week, the country will celebrate a bizarre Fourth of July during an historic pandemic.

Public health regulations governing what’s open and closed in response to the coronavirus are constantly changing — and they’re hard to keep track of. Here’s what to keep in mind over the long weekend:

  • Health officials recommend that those who do choose to participate in social activities meet in small groups (ideally fewer than 10), maintain 6 feet of distance from others, frequently wash hands and wear a mask. Try to stay outside, where virus transmission is lower.
  • It’s wildfire season in Colorado, so if you’re planning a barbecue or camping trip, make sure to pay attention to local fire restrictions issued by counties and the U.S. Forest Service. The state Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management maintains a webpage that can be a helpful starting point for information on fire bans.
  • Officials ask people to skip fireworks and campfires altogether — “to prevent situations where people have to evacuate their homes, firefighters have to deploy to camps, and the resulting smoke worsens summer air quality, which would be very bad in the middle of a pandemic where the disease attacks your respiratory system,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.

On June 30, Gov. Jared Polis announced that bars and nightclubs — which recently had been allowed to reopen with safety precautions — would be ordered to close again to prevent a spike in infections like those seen in Arizona and Texas.

Most of Colorado has seen a moderate incidence rate of new cases in the past two weeks, meaning more than 10 but fewer than 51 new cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 people. However, Denver County and the San Luis Valley have a high incidence rate of more than 100 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Regulations can vary by county, so it’s important to check with local public health agency for specific recommendations.

For example, Boulder County Public Health extended an order that requires everyone in the area, including trail users and park visitors, to wear face coverings when 6 feet of distance from others can’t be maintained.

Visit for more information on COVID-19 case data and the state’s response.

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Faith Miller
Faith Miller

Faith Miller was a reporter with Colorado Newsline covering the Colorado Legislature, immigration and other stories.