Skip to Main Content

News Details

Board asks residents to follow health-safety practices over July 4th weekend

Published on Jul 1, 2020

Bartow, Fla. (July 1, 2020) —July Fourth, Independence Day, in Florida typically brings family and neighborhood barbeques, pool parties and large flotillas on Polk County’s lakes. This year, the Polk County Board of County Commissioners, in partnership with the Department of Health, asks that you carefully consider the potential consequences that these large gatherings may bring because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Polk County’s recent spike in residents testing positive to COVID-19 is cause for concern; more than 40 percent of all positive cases have been reported since June 22. The median age of those testing positive mirrors statewide statistics at 36 years old. Contact tracing is showing that most cases of COVID-19 are being spread through families and friends attending social gatherings with someone who was unknowingly asymptomatic of the coronavirus.

“Our Board acknowledges that we all want this pandemic to be over and to get on with our lives,” said Board Chair Bill Braswell. “But the reality is that this COVID-19 pandemic is not close to being over, and may not be until we have vaccines or other preventative treatments. Until then, we must take personal responsibility to help constrain the spread of the virus.”

While Polk County has not mandated that facial coverings be worn in indoor spaces where people can’t socially distance, this practice is highly recommended.

“Experts agree that wearing a face mask helps stop the COVID-19 spread,” said Braswell. “We continue to strongly encourage social distancing, together with a wearing of face coverings indoors, and hand hygiene as the best strategies we have.”

If you are hosting or attending a social gathering this holiday weekend, please follow these practices:

  • Wear a face covering when you cannot control social distancing or are near people outside your immediate family;
  • Avoid handshakes and hugs;
  • Wash your hands often or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer frequently;
  • Think carefully and be aware of what you touch in buffet lines, the covered-dish shared utensils and the beer tap; and
  • If you are elderly or have underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, serious heart conditions or diabetes, consider staying home this year.

“We want everyone to have a safe and Happy July Fourth weekend,” said Braswell. “Please act responsibly so that we can avoid another large spike of positive COVID-19 cases in the next few weeks.”