Hundreds of thousands of people typically congregate to celebrate the Fourth of July, but festivities might look different than usual this year.
Many events have been canceled or moved online, except for President Donald Trump’s “Salute to America” event at the White House. Between the festivities, Black Lives Matter protesters are also taking to the streets to demand an end to police brutality.
Here’s a rundown of events that have been canceled, moved online or still happening in person in the District:
As D.C. and states across the country begin their phased reopenings, the United States is experiencing spikes in COVID-19 cases heading into the holiday weekend.
In hopes of limiting crowds Saturday, D.C.’s annual National Independence Day Parade and neighborhood celebrations across the District have been canceled.
Organizers of the parade – which looped around Constitution Avenue NW and featured bands, military units and celebrity guests – said virus infection levels won’t taper off “to the degree that it would be safe” to celebrate the Fourth of July.
“We regret this circumstance,” organizers wrote on the event’s website. “At the same time, we realize everyone has been dealing with this pandemic in your own communities, families and schools with very challenging consequences, fears, anxieties and disruptions.”
The annual “Capitol Fourth” concert will be a pre-recorded broadcast this year. The event usually takes place on the National Mall with live performances and an audience of hundreds of thousands. Hosted by actor John Stamos and singer Vanessa Williams, this year’s event will instead consist of segments of artists like Andy Grammer and The Temptations performing from their homes. You can watch the show on PBS Saturday at 8 p.m. EST.
What restaurants you can visit
Restaurants and bars will still limit their outdoor seating and indoor seating to 50 percent capacity on the Fourth this year. But in addition to offering take-out menus, many restaurants like The Dabney, Reverie and Centrolina will sell take-home barbecue kits filled with meat to grill at home, sauces, sides and bread.
Some restaurants with rooftop decks like Officina and Jack Rose are also offering reservations with a view of the fireworks over the National Mall.
What’s still happening in-person
Trump and First Lady Melania Trump announced late last month that, despite warnings from government officials, they will host their annual “Salute to America” event at the White House. The event will include speeches, military demonstrations, and flyovers and will end with the traditional fireworks display over the Mall.
“We’re following our health department’s advice to be very careful about large gatherings, even large gatherings that are outside,” Mayor Bowser said about the event at a press conference Wednesday.
The Department of the Interior encouraged attendees to follow public health guidelines at the “Salute to America” event in a July 1 statement. Attendees are asked to wear a mask, practice social distancing and wash their hands often, but the measures are not mandatory. More than 300,000 cloth face masks will also be distributed to crowds on the Mall.
The event will take place during multiple Black Lives Matter protests in D.C. on the Fourth. The Million Man March On Washington will begin at 10 a.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial and will pass by the White House on its way to the Capitol Building. You can also take part in the George Floyd Memorial March on Washington, the All Americans Unite event and the Black Lives Matter Protest and Unity Human Flag.
This article appeared in the July 3, 2020 issue of the Hatchet.