Trump has made significant efforts to minimize, or completely ignore, the pandemic in recent weeks, painting an optimistic picture of the administration’s response and pushing for reopening despite the fact that 36 states are experiencing a surge in new cases. .
South Dakota Republican Governor Kristi Noem, who worked with the President and the Department of the Interior to make the event happen, said Monday that social distancing will not apply in the “big event,” although masks will be provided.
“In South Dakota, we have told people to focus on personal responsibility. Each of them has a chance to make a decision that they feel comfortable with. So we will have celebrations of American independence, we will have a great event on July 3, “he said during an appearance on Fox News.
“We told people who have concerns that they may stay home, but those who want to come and join us, we will give them free face masks if they choose to wear one,” he said. “But we are not going to distance ourselves socially, we ask you to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and liberties that we have in this country.”
A health screening may be conducted for ticketed guests in one area, and the website warns, “Thousands will attend this event. Participants will be in close contact for an extended period of time, plan accordingly.”
“There are no social distancing requirements in place at this time,” a recording said Monday on the park’s main phone line.
Noem spokesman Ian Fury told CNN attendees will be encouraged to follow the guidelines of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, even though they conflict with the governor’s claim. that “they will not distance themselves socially”.
When asked to reconcile that discrepancy, Fury said, “We do not anticipate that people will maintain six feet of social distance,” but reiterated that the masks will be available to anyone who wants them, noting that the guidelines also encourage those who may have been exposed to staying home.
“We are encouraging attendees to follow CDC guidelines, extensive safety signage will be posted at the event and masks will be available, but attendees will exercise their personal responsibility in choosing to attend,” said Fury.
“Stay at least 6 feet from others at all times. This could make some open areas, trails, and roads better to use than others. Do not enter a crowded area … Do not visit parks where you cannot stay. at least 6 feet away from people you don’t live with, “says the guide.
Trump is also expected to attend traditional fireworks parties at the South Lawn of the White House on July 4, although it is unclear how or if social distancing will be applied.
Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser urged Washingtonians to view the fireworks from their home during a press conference last week.
“We want to send a message to our residents to enjoy July 4, celebrate, according to our guide, and do it at home,” he said.
“Of course, we know that the White House has already announced its plans, and the National Park Service will carry out the fireworks to celebrate the nation’s birthday. We will continue to support those activities in the way that we have traditionally done. But We hope that the crowds that come in non-pandemic years will not materialize this year, “he added.
CNN’s Maegan Vázquez and Kevin Liptak contributed to this report.