Rep. Don Beyer, who represents the Northern Virginia suburbs of the nation’s capital in Congress, issued the following statement today on Independence Day festivities ahead of the Fourth of July holiday weekend:
“This weekend Americans across our region and the country will celebrate the birth of our nation in Philadelphia 244 years ago. Washington and other cities will see fireworks, martial displays and flyovers, large gatherings, and sadly, the dangerous potential to spread coronavirus.
“The catastrophic rise in case counts across the country, especially the South and West, resulted from rushed re-openings and decisions to ignore public health advice. Those disastrous mistakes led to large gatherings on Memorial Day Weekend, which helped fuel this new wave of infections.
“In the nation’s capital we finally managed to slow the spread of COVID-19. The people in our region sacrificed to make these gains, and we should do all we can to hold on to this progress. Staying home on July Fourth and avoiding large gatherings is the best way to do this. Those who go out should absolutely wear a mask, and social distance without fail.
“The President, as he has since February, continues to insist that the virus will simply disappear, and the Administration’s response continues to be guided by wishful thinking. That is not a strategy for ending a pandemic. While it is good that the National Parks Service will offer masks and encourage social distancing at fireworks displays, the safest course is to follow Dr. Fauci’s advice and avoid large gatherings altogether.
“Independence Day is ultimately about remembering our history and commemorating our values, not public spectacle, and we can celebrate patriotism at home with our families.”
Beyer previously led Members of Congress representing the National Capital Region in opposing the Trump Administration’s reported plans to hold another large military parade in Washington, D.C., and subsequently criticized the Administration’s lack of public health measures as it shifted plans towards a smaller event in the nation’s capital.
Yesterday Dr. Anthony Fauci urged Americans to avoid gatherings like President Trump’s planned fireworks show at Mount Rushmore. Arlington County has also encouraged residents to avoid July 4th festivities and stay home.