The do’s and don’ts of celebrating Memorial Day during a pandemic

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Memorial Day weekend is going to mean family and neighborhood gatherings for many of us. 

With that in mind, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health, has a warning. 

RELATED: How to observe Memorial Day in the age of coronavirus

“We do want people to connect with their neighbors and friends, but we want to do it in a way that’s safe and protects everyone,” she said. 

Whether it’s the lake, the trails, or your own backyard, this Memorial Day weekend your celebrations may look a little different. 

Dillaha said as Arkansans make plans for the holiday weekend, they need to keep a few things in mind. 

“I strongly encourage people to be safe, to take care of themselves and their families, and don’t take unnecessary risks for exposure,” she said. 

These unnecessary risks, according to Dillaha, include going to newly opened pools, state parks, and other outdoor venues that may get overly crowded. 

“We encourage people to get out and about, but if they cannot maintain 6-foot distance from other people, then they really just need to remove themselves from that situation and go somewhere else,” she said. 

When it comes to face masks, Dillaha said you should always have it handy and put it on if you can’t separate yourself from the people you are with, if they aren’t immediate family. 

As for the grill and food, share it in a way that everyone isn’t touching a common container. 

“Individual drinks in cans or bottles, as opposed to a pitcher, or to make it possible for people to wipe down the pitcher in between,” she said. 

While you honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice this weekend, Dillaha said the best way to do that is by keeping everyone’s safety top priority. 

“If we don’t protect our neighbors, our neighbors cannot protect us,” she said. 

RELATED: Trump orders flags lowered to half-staff for those who died from coronavirus

Dillaha said it’s the things we do naturally that we need to stop and think about this weekend. 

For example, if you are out in your neighborhood and need to use the restroom, head back inside to your house instead of risking the possibility of potential exposure.