(Updated at 12:20 p.m.) The pandemic is putting a damper on Fourth of July festivities, but Arlington County is still preparing for potential crowds at popular fireworks viewing spots.
Road closures are planned from 4-11 p.m. Saturday around the Air Force Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial and Long Bridge Park. Street parking will also be restricted in the area.
Other viewing spots that may draw fireworks crowds in Arlington include Key Bridge, Gravelly Point and Rosslyn’s Gateway Park. None of the above will be hosting formal events this year, the county says, and residents are encouraged to stay home instead.
“Considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no formal events or programming are planned in Arlington County,” said a press release Monday afternoon. “Those wishing to view fireworks or flyovers are encouraged to do so at home on TV, or in adherence to current recommended social distancing protocols. Large, outdoor gatherings are still a high risk, especially when people are close together, without any guarantees of physical distancing.”
At Long Bridge Park, near Crystal City, the crowd will be capped and no on-site parking will be available.
“The park will be open for viewing, but we aren’t encouraging people to come. It’s Safer at Home!” Arlington Dept. of Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Susan Kalish tells ARLnow. “We will be capping park attendance to 1,000 based on the Governor’s Guidelines. We will closed entrance when we hit 1,000 or by 7:30 p.m., whichever comes first.
“Social distancing is required; face coverings recommended,” Kalish added. “No fireworks or alcohol allowed in the park. No food or spiked objects (like chairs or umbrellas) allowed on the fields. And only water is allowed on the field as well.”
The pandemic has also cancelled one of Arlington’s most popular private fireworks displays.
“Due to the recent events with COVID-19, unfortunately we will not be hosting fireworks this year for the 4th of July,” Washington Golf and Country Club said on its website. “We wish everyone a happy and safe holiday!”
There is at least one community event happening on Independence Day, however: the Lyon Village Fourth of July parade will go on, starting promptly at 11 a.m. at the corner of Key Blvd and N. Jackson Street. Parade watchers are encouraged to social distance from one another.
“The Lyon Village 4th of July Parade will again take place this year,” the neighborhood’s civic association said. “It will feature a longer parade route with Arlington police and fire vehicles and a special group of antique cars.”
“The parade is honoring long time Lyon Village resident, Col. Ed Brant,” the press release notes. “For many years Col. Brant and his family drove his Model T and Model A fords in the parade. Col. Brant is now 99 years old and he will turn 100 in October.”
The full county press release about Fourth of July road closures and restrictions is below.
The Arlington County Police Department may implement multiple road closures in partnership with other area law enforcement agencies on July 4, 2020. As of July 1, 2020, Arlington County will have entered Phase 3 of the Forward Virginia plan for re-opening, which continues to promote that you are safer at home. These closures may be implemented to ensure the safe movement of motorists and pedestrians in the area of viewing points for events held in celebration of Independence Day in Washington D.C.
Celebrate July 4 Safely in Arlington County
- COVID-19 Precautions: Considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, no formal events or programming are planned in Arlington County. Those wishing to view fireworks or flyovers are encouraged to do so at home on TV, or in adherence to current recommended social distancing protocols. Large, outdoor gatherings are still a high risk, especially when people are close together, without any guarantees of physical distancing.
- If you are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, to include fever, cough or difficulty breathing, or have been in contact with someone with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, stay home.
- Do not gather in groups larger than 250 people.
- Limit close contact with others outside your household in indoor and outdoor spaces.
- Maintain six feet of distance or wear a cloth face covering when physical distancing is not possible.
- Wash or sanitize your hands and surfaces frequently.
MORE: Visit the County’s COVID-19 webpage for additional information on preventing the spread of COVID-19.
- Those wishing to view fireworks at Long Bridge Park are advised that the number of people allowed entry to the viewing area will be capped at 1,000. Individuals arriving to the Long Bridge Park viewing area will be denied entry beginning at 7:30 p.m. or when the park reaches capacity, whichever comes first.
- Alcoholic beverages, grills and fireworks are prohibited on County and Federal parkland during Independence Day events.
- Non-approved vendors will not be allowed in the area of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima).
- Coolers and backpacks will be subject to search upon entry to the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima) and Long Bridge Park.
- Hot and humid conditions are anticipated. Stay hydrated, use sunscreen and seek shade as needed.
- The Washington Metropolitan area, including the entirety of Arlington County, is designated as a “no-drone zone” by the Federal Aviation Administration.
- Our community is safest when everyone is engaged and alert. If you see something, say something by reporting suspicious activity to police for investigation.
The following road closures will be implemented:
- Memorial Bridge and Memorial Circle will be closed from approximately 6:00 a.m. until the morning of July 5, 2020
- The exit ramps from westbound Arlington Boulevard to N. Lynn Street and eastbound Arlington Boulevard to Meade Street
The following additional road closures may be implemented from approximately 4:00 p.m. until approximately 11:00 p.m. in the interest of public safety:
- Meade Street from Arlington Boulevard to Marshall Drive
- Marshall Drive from Route 110 to N. Meade Street
- Arlington Boulevard Access Road from N. Rhodes Street to N. Meade Street
- Exit ramp from eastbound Arlington Boulevard to N. Meade Street (Rosslyn exit)
- Exit ramp from westbound Arlington Boulevard to N. Meade Street (Rosslyn exit)
- Access to the Fort Myer Heights neighborhood for local traffic will remain available via the N. Rhodes Street Bridge
- Eastbound 10th Street N. ramp to eastbound Arlington Boulevard, with all traffic diverted to westbound Arlington Boulevard
- Courthouse Road ramp to eastbound Arlington Boulevard, with all traffic diverted to westbound Arlington Boulevard or 10th Street N.
- Columbia Pike from S. Joyce Street to S. Oak Street
- Access to the Foxcroft Heights neighborhood for local traffic will remain available via S. Orme Street
- Westbound Washington Boulevard exit to Eastbound Columbia Pike and S. Orme Street
- Long Bridge Drive, from Boundary Channel Drive to 12th Street S.
- Southgate Road from Columbia Pike to S. Oak Street
Street parking in the areas of the U.S. Marine Corps War Memorial (Iwo Jima), Long Bridge Park, and Air Force Memorial will be restricted. Motorists should be on the lookout for temporary “No Parking” signs and illegally parked vehicles will be ticketed and towed. If your vehicle is towed from a public street, please call the Emergency Communications Center at 703-558-2222.
Motorists should expect travel delays and follow police direction when traveling in the areas of Iwo Jima and Long Bridge Park. The Arlington County Police Department is reminding drivers that stopping or standing in a lane of traffic to observe the fireworks or flyovers is illegal and violators may be issued a citation. Additionally, parking on the shoulders of Route 110 in both directions is prohibited and will be strictly enforced. Unattended vehicles found in violation will be ticketed and towed at the owner’s expense.
Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman