Navigating the new normal, especially when it comes to summer celebrations, can be tricky with COVID-19 still circulating and infections on the rise in some communities. Even after two years, attending summer events like family cookouts, visiting amusement parks, and enjoying music and cultural festivals still comes with challenges because of the pandemic.
Last year, President Joe Biden signed a law that officially made Juneteenth Day, celebrated on June 19, a federal holiday. With Juneteenth Day just days away, many people look forward to celebrating this important holiday to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved African Americans in this country. However, when looking at how COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted the Black community, celebrating safely must remain a top priority to remain COVID-free.
As cases are on the rise in many regions of the country, the risk of gathering in large groups and contracting COVID-19 also increases. That’s why it’s extremely important to approach Juneteenth celebrations, and other summer festivities, with an abundance of caution. Here are seven tips to help keep everyone safe this Juneteenth Day:
1) Less is more.
Don’t try to attend every event you’re invited to. Pick wisely.
2) Mask up.
With many mask mandates relaxed, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with erring on the side of caution, and choosing to wear a mask, even if you are outdoors.
3) Go the distance.
When gathering with groups of people, be mindful to protect your personal space and social distance as much as possible.
4) Keep it clean.
Sanitizing and hand washing are two important ways to kill the virus. Don’t forget to sanitize surfaces and wash your hands often.
5) Shake fewer hands.
Elbow bump or air hug instead of shaking hands and hugging.
6) Don’t wait to vaccinate.
Consider getting a first dose, second dose or booster shot before heading out to celebrate Juneteenth Day festivities. Visit vaccines.gov to find vaccines in your area.
7) Know before you go.
At-home COVID-19 testing kits make it easy as ever for people to know their status before heading to any celebrations and before attending large events where the virus can be spread easily.
As more cities lift mask mandates, the undeniably low vaccination rates in the Black community mean it’s vital to proceed with caution for Juneteenth celebrations and other popular summer gatherings. Recently, public health officials in different areas across the nation have expressed concern about the rise in COVID-19 cases.
“There have been a lot of mixed messages and misinformation shared over the last two years that have caused many to tune out,” said Dr. Kendell Jasper, a licensed psychologist. “Stick with the medical professionals.”
Some reliable resources you can check are the Mayo Clinic which offers a map to track COVID-19 cases and is forecasting potential hot spots within states and counties and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which provides vaccination rates by state.
When it comes to COVID-19, it’s better to be safe than sorry. These useful tips can help ensure everyone has a happy, safe, and healthy Juneteenth Day this year.