COVID safety for the 4th of July
Mount Rushmore, S.D. — The Black Hills will welcome over 7,000 people to Mount Rushmore and tens of thousands more to the surrounding area for 4th of July festivities.
So what will this mean for South Dakota and the Mount Rushmore fireworks event? Although the Black Hills will see a large influx of visitors, officials are not calling for any restrictions in relation to COVID-19. Outside of providing hand washing stations, Mount Rushmore will not require or ask attendees to social distance or wear facial masks. This has been an area of contention among South Dakota residents, as some fear the possibility of another outbreak. Although it is not being mandated, the South Dakota Department of Health does encourage hand washing, face masks, and social distancing. Kim Malsam–Rysdon, Secretary of Health
“This is a voluntary event, and so people that are at risk or otherwise uncomfortable in a setting like that should consider whether they attend or not,” said Kim Malsam-Rysdon, the Secretary of Health. “Washing hands still remains the number one way we can minimize the spread of COVID”
As for medical officials thoughts on the 4th of July weekend and the fireworks, they are encouraging attendees to continue following CDC guidelines as much as possible. Dr. Kelsey Nylander of Monument Health in Spearfish said,
“We’ve had a lot of big gatherings and we don’t know exactly what the long term ramifications of those are. I mean outside if they’re packed in and they’re not social distancing and not wearing masks, I think the spread could very well happen.”
People from around the country will arrive in South Dakota without having quarantined, but the local medical community is confident in their ability to serve the Black Hills in the case of any outbreak.
“We have been in preparation for months for a surge,” said Dr. Nylander. “I think we’ve got our best minds working at this and I think we’ve got a plan in place and I think that’s what you can hope for, is a strong plan for a surge of patients.”
Along with social distancing and mask wear, officials recommend staying hydrated as it will be a hot day.