This weekend will mark the first holiday in over 15 months without COVID-19 restrictions in place. While that’s cause for celebration, there is also still reason to stay cautious. People who have not yet been fully vaccinated — including children under 12 who can’t yet get the vaccine — are still vulnerable to the virus. It’s up to all of us to take care and protect those who are more vulnerable.
The other reason to be cautious is that Oregon has had an extremely dry spring and early summer and has experienced record-breaking hot weather within the week. Those conditions have made Oregon extremely susceptible to fire, which prompted Governor Kate Brown to announce a State of Emergency for wildfires earlier this week and to invoke the Emergency Conflagration Act to make state resources available to fire crews already battling fires in such areas as Wasco County.
“As we head into the 4th of July weekend, it is imperative that all Oregonians remain mindful of fire safety and prevention,” said Governor Brown in a July 2 press release. “Please remember to be prepared, responsible, and to honor all burn bans.”
We know many folks may have been looking forward to a firework celebration this year, but the current circumstances make such activities extremely dangerous. As a result, many cities and counties throughout Oregon have already implemented measures to temporarily ban the use of fireworks. Those areas are:
- Clackamas County
- Deschutes County
- Forest Grove
- Gold Hill
- Hood River (City)
- Multnomah County
- The Dalles
- Wasco County
- West Linn
Even if your local area hasn’t created a firework ban, many officials are still urging Oregon residents to not use fireworks this year. For more information, you can visit the Office of the State Fire Marshal’s website.
Here are some other tips for celebrating safely this year:
- Celebrating outdoors is the safest way to gather with those who are unvaccinated.
- If you gather outdoors, make sure to stay hydrated and take other precautions to avoid heat danger.
- If you are in a crowded area, consider wearing a face covering, especially if you are not fully vaccinated.
- If you want to enjoy fireworks, watching public fireworks displays is safer than setting your own.
There are some people who will want to continue wearing masks, even in situations where they don’t need to, and that’s okay. One thing is sure. The pandemic meant a time of change for everyone.
The transition to post-pandemic life may be hard for some people. If you’re having trouble transitioning back to your pre-pandemic life, start small.
If you’re fully vaccinated, you might choose to do one thing you haven’t done in long time. Maybe that’s going out to a restaurant this weekend, going to a park with your pet, catching a movie with a friend or shopping for some fun Fourth of July decorations. Any of these can be your first step.
It’s okay to take the time you need.
If you feel like you want support, Safe + Strong can help.