Howard County Executive Calvin Ball announced residents, businesses, and visitors can enjoy the traditional 4th of July fireworks at Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia this summer. County Executive Ball and Howard County Health Officer Dr. Maura Rossman also outlined guidance and recommendations for residents and parade or other event organizers to celebrate safely. The announcement comes as Howard County recorded its lowest positivity rate (1%) to date and leads the state in vaccination progress. Photos can be found here. Video can be found here.
“Summer in Howard County is special, marked by family events, activities, and here at the Lakefront the longstanding Howard County tradition of 4th of July fireworks,” said Ball. “Over the years, families have staked out their spots with blankets, gathered with neighbors and friends, and enjoyed the show. Thanks to the incredible progress Howard County has made to vaccinate our residents and significantly reduce the spread of the virus, we can enjoy this lakefront tradition and spectacular display of fireworks with our family and friends again.”
“Howard County has done a wonderful job at using all the available interventions to get us to the point where we are able to hold community celebrations again,” said Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County Health Officer. “Let’s keep up the good work and get everyone who is eligible vaccinated. Doing so will allow us to celebrate this Fourth of July and other holidays together.”
Last year, the lakefront fireworks were canceled amid high COVID-19 cases. At the time of the decision, Howard County had a positivity rate of 23%, and 9.5 new cases per 100,000 people. Today, Howard County is in a significantly better place, with a positivity rate of 1% and 2.81 cases per 100,000 residents. Howard County also leads the state in vaccination progress, with 73% of residents ages 12 and over with at least one dose, and 58.7% fully vaccinated.
“CA welcomes everyone to our Lakefront as such an important point of connection and community for Columbia,” said Lakey Boyd, President/CEO of Columbia Association.
“We are especially pleased to welcome Howard County to the Lakefront, and we are thrilled to reignite our collaboration on this event. It serves as a strong signal that there are truly things to look forward to this summer. It also reminds all of us that we must remain vigilant and respectful of one another as we transition into a new phase in post-pandemic life.”
“We are happy to be at a point in this pandemic where we are taking steps towards normalcy,” said Director of Recreation & Parks A. Raul Delerme. “Our facilities, programs and sporting events are again open at 100% capacity. Although face coverings will no longer be required outdoors or to enter our buildings, participants in our indoor youth camps and programs will still need to wear them to stay in line with the Maryland Health Department’s latest order.”
Annual Fireworks Information
The 22-minute fireworks show will start around 9:20 p.m. at Lake Kittamaqundi in Columbia. Residents who wish to place blankets may do so after 3:00 p.m. The event will not have a band, food trucks or other entertainment. For additional information and questions, please visit: https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/Recreation-and-Parks
4th of July Guidance & Recommendations
Participating in parades and other large outdoor gatherings is safer if you have been fully vaccinated. Even when held outdoors, crowded events place unvaccinated individuals and those living in their household at increased risk of COVID-19 exposure.
If you are attending a crowded, outdoor event and have not been vaccinated you should:
- Ensure food and drinks are pre-packaged or bottled.
- Refrain from tossing candy or promotional items from vehicles or floats to individuals watching the parade.
- Refrain from handing out paper such as brochures, coupons and/or flyers. Other items are highly discouraged: Silly string, water pistols/guns, super-soakers, water balloons and other devices that propel water from parade entry.
- Strongly consider getting yourself, your workforce and those living in your households fully vaccinated.
Parade participants who have not yet been vaccinated
- Wear your mask over your nose and mouth, secure it under your chin, and make sure it fits snugly against the sides of your face if you are not able to maintain social distancing of 6 feet apart between members of different households while in formation.
- Minimize congregating such as for pre-parade meetings to no more than 15 minutes if physical distancing between households is not possible.
Choosing Safer Activities
Keep in mind that no precaution can eliminate risk of COVID-19 exposure. Those who are not yet vaccinated or at increased risk of severe illness should take special care to avoid activities where the risk of COVID is elevated due to the following conditions:
- Crowding or when there is a decreased ability to maintain physical distance
- Settings with a higher percentage of unvaccinated people (including children) present or people at risk of severe COVID-19 disease
- Activities that involve behaviors such as singing, shouting, physical exertion or heavy breathing, inability to wear a mask, or inability to maintain physical distancing
Considerations for Event Organizers
- Create social distancing protocols for staff and guests who have not yet been vaccinated, with special consideration for entrances and exits, queues, bottlenecks, facility layouts.
- Consider risk factors for unvaccinated attendees and participants when planning event: current community case rate, exposure during travel, event length/setting.
- Ensure employees are trained in proper health and safety protocols.
- Questions about health and safety best practices can be directed to the Howard County Health Department: email@example.com or 410-313-6284.
- Get vaccinated and encourage staff to do the same.