Tribune editorial: Celebrate the Fourth, but be smart about it

Tribune editorial: Celebrate the Fourth, but be smart about it

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North Dakotans will have fun this Fourth of July weekend, but it won’t be a return to normalcy. The pandemic means, like it or not, we have to make adjustments in life.

There are still many ways to celebrate despite events being modified to deal with the coronavirus. It’s up to both event organizers and individuals to follow safety procedures. We are seeing across the country the result of businesses reopening and people behaving as if the coronavirus didn’t exist. COVID-19 cases are increasing in many states.

Florida has closed beaches for the holidays, parts of California are closing bars again and a number of cities are making masks mandatory. These are steps that are abhorrent to many in North Dakota.

They are being taken because residents in other states have been careless, ignoring the warnings and acting like it’s the summer of 2019. When (or if) those days of a carefree life will return is uncertain.

North Dakotans should learn from the mistakes being made in other states. Medical experts have provided the essential advice for dealing with the pandemic for several months. Some of the key practices such as social distancing, wearing face masks and using hand sanitizer are often ignored in public.

North Dakota benefits from its rural nature. Many are in professions where they don’t have much contact with the public. Farmers and ranchers often have little contact with anyone other than family members. It becomes easy to forget the dangers that lurk in situations where a number of people gather.

The coronavirus numbers in the large counties of Cass, Burleigh and Grand Forks show the threat is real in the state. It’s a threat that can be countered by smart practices. This isn’t an editorial to tell people stay home and avoid Fourth of July celebrations.

The Tribune editorial board instead encourages people to continue smart practices and, if they have slipped a little bit, to renew the practices. We think people should celebrate.

You can go to the Mandan rodeo or Capitol fireworks display and enjoy yourself. You also can practice social distancing, avoid handshakes and embraces plus wear a mask. We realize masks can be an annoyance to some people, but they help protect the wearer and the people they meet.

The holiday across the nation will be a test of the future. If there is a drastic increase in COVID-19 cases, the reopening of America could be set back. That’s what everyone wants to avoid.

Enjoy the holiday, but do it smartly. Discuss how to behave when in public and how to react to different situations before going out. If people do that, there’s no reason it can’t be an exciting and safe holiday.

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