Coronavirus News: How to celebrate the 4th of July weekend safely

LEVITTOWN, New York (WABC) -- The Fourth of July is a time for Americans to celebrate, but is it possible to do that safely during the coronavirus pandemic?

We all know the summer of 2020 looks a lot different than past summers, and July 4th is no different.

Already, the fireworks are scaled down, and travel is restricted more.

This weekend, the backyard gatherings will go on, but how much is too much?

We asked Dr. Sharon Nachman, a pediatric infectious disease expert from Stony Brook Children's Hospital, if she personally felt safe having a weekend, July 4th barbecue.

"I would probably limit the barbecue to three or four families, understanding of course who those families are," Nachman said.

So, rule number one is: know the behavior of your guests.

The same caution holds true for how you plan to serve the food.

Health experts say that having a food table is reasonable. But, embrace disposables, including individually packaged plastic utensils, condiments and paper cups and plates.

Also, proper hand washing and hand sanitizer use are that much more important while eating or serving food.

The food itself doesn't spread the virus, but improper handling of it can.

Pool parties also require safety measures, but not as much in the water.

"Salt water and chlorinated water both kill the virus," Dr. Nachman said.

What's more important, is how you socially distance your guests around your pool.

"If you stretch out your hands, and they stretch out their hands and you touch, you're probably too close," Dr. Nachman said.

What's clear is, people are planning lots of gatherings.

At B.J.'s Wholesale Club in Levittown, many of the carts were full, and shoppers say their families are looking forward to a change of pace this weekend.

"I honestly think this is our window to take advantage, because I'm concerned in the fall, with the flu, and this virus coming back," said Tina Composto, a shopper from Wantagh.

While most shoppers are also concerned about holiday travelers from other states, they are trying to use the holiday as a time to be with family.

"Mostly just a few family, my mom, my sister," said Ashley McCabe, a shopper from Massapequa.

Most described that their celebrations will be much more low-key than in the past.

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