Tuesday, September 29, 2020
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Celebrate Independence Day responsibly

| July 2, 2020 1:00 AM

Typically around the Fourth of July we use this space to remind readers about using vigilance with fireworks and to celebrate responsibly by securing a safe ride home if you choose to drink alcohol.

And while that advice certainly applies this Independence Day (and every day), we’re adding another to the list for 2020: Do your part to help prevent the spread of covid-19.

Virus cases are surging across Montana, with more than 250 new positive tests reported in the last week alone. As of Wednesday, the state had 336 active cases. State health officials noted this week that a number of the recent positive tests were tied to large social gatherings, such as weddings, where it’s easier for the virus to spread from one person to another.

With that in mind, Flathead County health officials urge everyone to think critically about the celebratory events they plan to attend this summer.

“If gatherings are not abiding by social distancing or hygiene practices, consider leaving or altering your plans,” Flathead Health Officer Hillary Hanson suggests. “We need to make smart decisions for ourselves, for our families, and for our community.”

The health department encourages people to wear a face covering in public, adhere to social distance recommendations, wash hands often, and stay home if you are sick. That’s a fairly simple list to follow, and it will go a long way in helping tamp down community spread while keeping our local economy open and humming along.

This weekend, we encourage everyone to celebrate our nation’s independence with vigor. Don that red, white and blue, and wave Old Glory with pride. But do so responsibly for the betterment of the whole community — it’s the patriotic thing to do.