One of the largest fireworks displays ever will take place July 4. Image: The Canadian Press

One of the largest fireworks displays ever will take place July 4. Image: The Canadian Press

Trump plans huge July 4 fireworks show despite DC’s concerns

Despite health concerns from D.C.’s mayor, no one apparently will be required to wear masks

President Donald Trump’s July Fourth celebration on the National Mall will feature one of the largest fireworks displays ever and as many as 300,000 face masks will be given away to those who want them — but despite health concerns from D.C.’s mayor, no one apparently will be required to wear them.

Trump made no mention of the masks or of the pandemic overall in a tweet Wednesday on his Independence Day pIans. He thanked corporate donors for supporting “what will, without question, be a special evening.”

Interior Secretary David Bernhardt outlined a second year of military-focused events in the nation’s capital on July Fourth, including Defence Department flyovers for a “one-of-a-kind air show.”

“President Trump’s 2020 Salute to America will be a patriotic tribute to our men and women in uniform,” Bernhardt said in a statement.

A mile-long firing of 10,000 fireworks will be “the largest in recent memory,” he said.

July Fourth comes as Americans are dealing with surging cases of COVID-19 and confusion over best practices in public, especially on masks. Trump has been criticized for pushing to go ahead with large campaign rallies and other public gatherings, like the upcoming holiday event, despite the increased risks of infection.

Among those deeply concerned is Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser, who doesn’t have the right to shut down the holiday spectacle because it’s on federal land, but warned the federal government about the obvious dangers of such a large crowd.

Bowser said she had briefly read through the Interior Department’s statement on the July Fourth plans and believed they were not consistent with established health guidelines.

“We know this is a special event for the Department of Interior. We’ve communicated to them that we do not think this is in keeping with the best CDC and Department of Health guidance. But this event will take place entirely on federal property,” Bowser said.

Washington is currently in phase 2 of its reopening plans, and Bowser asked district residents to avoid large crowds and celebrate July Fourth at or near their homes.

“We are giving D.C. residents the same message about any of their outings for the holiday weekend. Ask yourself, do you need to be there,” she said. “Ask yourself, can you anticipate or know who all is going to be around you? If you go downtown, do you know if you’ll be able to social distance?”

Interior officials planned to have 300,000 face coverings on hand to give away at the National Mall. Bernhardt said visitors would be encouraged to wear masks and keep a six-foot distance from one another. There was no indication that would be mandatory, despite the recommendations of health officials.

White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations on masks — which say the face coverings “are most likely to reduce the spread of COVID-19 when they are widely used by people in public settings” — are not mandatory in themselves.

“The president has said that we should follow our local authorities with masks, so that’s the decision,” McEnany said. “He encourages people to follow those authorities. CDC guidelines, I’d also note, say recommended but not required and we are very much looking forward to the Fourth of July celebration.”

Trump and first lady Melania Trump plan to host events from the White House south lawn and from the Ellipse on Saturday, the day after Trump attends a separate fireworks display and public gathering at Mount Rushmore.

This year’s event is expected to roll out without military vehicles. After Trump had expressed admiration for France’s military-themed parades, last year’s Independence Day events, featuring an address by Trump near the Lincoln Memorial and military flyover, included stationary displays of Bradley fighting vehicles.

A U.S. Government Accountability Office report last week estimated the partial price tag of last year’s Salute to America at $13 million, twice as much as previous years’, in part because of the cost of including the Bradleys. Like last year, donations are helping support part of the cost of the July Fourth events, Bernhardt said.

READ MORE: RCMP arrest armed man on grounds near Trudeau residence

READ MORE: Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

—-

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

This story has been corrected to show that costs of last year’s July 4th event were in a report by the Government Accountability Office, not by the Interior Department inspector general.

Ellen Knickmeyer And Ashraf Khalil, The Associated Press

Donald Trump

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

The Great Ogopogo Bathtub Race has been held in Summerland as a fundraising event. Do you know which Canadian city introduced this sport? (Black Press file photo)
QUIZ: A summer’s day at the water

How much do you know about boats, lakes and water?

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from B.C. residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Most Read