What to do and how to stay safe this holiday weekend

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The coronavirus has impacted all of us, but that doesn’t mean this holiday weekend can’t be fun for the whole family. A lot of the fireworks and other events have been canceled but there are still things you can do as a family going into July 4th.

“It should be an excellent way for us to get out of the heat enjoy ourselves and have a lot of fun," Jonathan Jones, the Director of Recreation at South Bend Parks and Arts said.

The 4th of July weekend is meant to be celebrated with fireworks, fun activities and good old fashioned family time.

This year the coronavirus pandemic has set some of those celebrations back, but there are still a ton of activities you can do starting with splash pads and water parks like this one which is opening up to the public.

“It’s very important, not only for the physical aspect but also for the mental aspects. Great to be able to get that release," he said.

Of course, with added safety procedures.

“We’ll be operating at a 50% capacity for the foreseeable future," he said. "One of the biggest differences that people will see though is we’ll be operating in two-hour session blocks so when you pay for an admission block. It will be solely for that two-hour block. In between the two hour sessions it all our team to come in and do a deep clean and sanitization of the entire facility.”

If water is not your top choice, the new Mt. Tabor trail system by Tabor Hill Estate and Round Barn Winery in Berrien County is also going on its second open weekend.

“They can just go ahead and walk. They can pack a little cooler if they want to take some flavor trips they can walk the trails," Jenn Piotrowski the social media and PR specialist the trail system said. "The nice thing about these trails is we have a lot of land at all of our properties so we can go ahead and spread out all the guests that show up while keeping a social distance."

And for those worried about missing fireworks, there are also options out there to still get the experience, safely without even leaving home. The huge fireworks display in Washington DC will be live-streamed and aired on PBS Saturday night.

Kennedy water park opens Friday but you can also reserve your spot right now online because surely it will be packed.

Now, it's also important to be safe and cool out there for the 4th, especially since the holiday is usually celebrated outside with friends and family, with heat indexes in the 90s.

“When we have this heat surge like this in July, there are three big injuries. One is sunburn. Two is heat exhaustion, heatstroke and the third is again fireworks," Brian Huber the Medical Director for the South Bend Clinic’s Immediate Care said.

Huber has seen it all.

“The sunburns we see are typically blistering over the whole back chest face," he said. "And then yeah you’re going to get the bumps and scrapes and lacerations and mild surface burns from the fireworks.”

He says to always wear SPF 30 and apply it throughout the day and when it comes to heat exhaustion/heat stroke it’s important to watch out for

“An elevated temperature, trouble breathing, rapid heart rate, you’re going to get nauseous, maybe some personality changes on the severe end," he said.

So he recommends staying inside airconditioning as much as you can, especially if you’re over 65, and hydration is key.

“Drink as much water as humanly possible. It’s way more than you’re used to. The amount of sweat you have in these situations, you don’t know how much you are losing," Huber said. "You don’t need to lock yourself in the basement for the next week but you don’t want to go outside in the sun and work in the yard for 8 hours and not drink water and not put sunscreen on. That’s what we’re trying to prevent.”

As for fireworks, “the mixture of alcohol and fireworks is one of the biggest issues," he said.

There can be a myriad of injuries.

“Burns, explosive injuries to the hands are the big one that we don’t want to see and the other one sounds. You don’t realize how loud these are. You can get definitely some hearing loss can trickle into our clinic as well," he said.

The South Bend Clinic is going to be open all weekend. And of course, health experts want everyone to wear their masks, wash their hands and maintain social distancing if you do decide to take our family out for any holiday festivities.

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