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Health officials urge people to avoid large gatherings during Fourth of July weekend

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Posted at 8:20 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-02 23:25:45-04

TAMPA, Fla. — State health officials are reminding people to help stop the spread of COVID-19 during the Fourth of July weekend.

Health officials encourage people to protect the vulnerable and avoid large crowds. People should avoid closed spaces, crowded places and close-contact settings.

Many cities have canceled fireworks shows.

Sharon Hunnewell-Johnson, President of Galaxy Fireworks, said sales have been strong this holiday. Many customers plan to buy fireworks and celebrate at home.

"This summer for the Fourth of July, you have more people home, more than normal, they're not going on cruises or Disney or going on summer vacations," said Sharon Hunnewell-Johnson.

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Dr. Marissa Levine, a USF professor of Public Health and Family Medicine, said people must adjust to a "new normal."

"We have three tools available to us to protect against COVID-19. Those are our physical distancing, having face masks available when we can't maintain that and continuing all of our disinfection and hand hygiene," said Dr. Marissa Levine, a USF professor of Public Health and Family Medicine.

Dr. Levine encourages people to avoid mass gatherings.

"It's worse when we're indoors. Clearly, mass gatherings indoors are what we generally want to avoid. Outdoors is generally safer, but if you're crowded together as we frequently do watching fireworks, it doesn't take much to share it back and forth," said Dr. Levine.