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How to Safely Celebrate Memorial Day This Weekend

You don't have to sacrifice your traditional celebrations. You just have to alter them.

It might feel like time hasn’t moved since you started quarantining, but Monday is Memorial Day, the unofficial start to what’s shaping up to be one of the strangest summers ever. Celebrating this year is going to be more complicated than in years past, but it’s also more meaningful, an opportunity to do something fun and normal in times that are, for the most part, neither.

And it is possible to have a proper Memorial Day celebration without putting yourself, your spouse, or your kids at risk. Here’s how to celebrate Memorial Day this year the way that it’s meant to be celebrated.

Get Outside

It’s a happy coincidence that Memorial Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated outside where the weather is hopefully warm and pleasant because enclosed spaces are where COVID-19 transmission seems most likely to happen.

“Based on the data that is emerging, the risk of transmission outside — especially while practicing social distancing — is almost negligible,” Dr. Isaac Bogoch, an infectious diseases physician and associate professor of medicine at the University of Toronto, told NBC News. “It seems to be a low-risk setting, but that doesn’t mean there is no risk.”

As long as you frequently wash or sanitize your hands, maintain proper social distancing, and wear a mask, going outside is a pretty low-risk activity.

Grill Responsibly

You should not have a huge backyard blowout, but a small (10 or fewer folks) Memorial Day barbecue is OK. Everyone should wear masks and socially distance, so the time-honored tradition of crowding around the grill, beers in hand, is a no-no.

If you’re putting out a spread, make sure your guests come up individually or as families to ensure people who shouldn’t get too close to each other don’t. And, as you always should when making food, wash your hands thoroughly and often.

Don’t Let Safety Stop at the Water’s Edge

Whether it’s in a pool or natural body of water, swimming is a big part of lots of Memorial Day celebrations, and it’s one that you thankfully don’t have to skip this year.

Don’t let kids share goggles, masks, snorkels, or nose clips, and while it’s a great idea on land, wearing a face covering while swimming is a no-no because, well, it’s important to breathe.

Social distancing, on the other hand, is something you should continue to practice in the water, though it might be difficult if your swimming location is public and gets crowded this weekend. If it becomes impossible to keep your distance from other revelers, just go home. After all, no holiday celebration is worth risking you or your family’s health.