LOS ANGELES - President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump will travel to South Dakota this week for a Fourth of July celebration, despite rising coronavirus cases across the United States, and the state’s governor says there will be no social distancing measures in place at the event.
Friday’s event, scheduled at Mt. Rushmore National Memorial, will be free and open to the public. According to the event’s website, masks will not be required, but will be available at the event.
“To ensure a safe and successful event, attendance will be limited through an online lottery system to around 7,500 participants,” the event website reads.
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem appeared on FOX News to defend the upcoming celebration at the memorial, calling it a wonderful opportunity.
“In South Dakota we’ve told people to focus on personal responsibility. Every one of them has the opportunity to make a decision that they’re comfortable with,” Noem said Monday on FOX News. “So, we will be having celebrations of American independence. We will have a large event at July 3rd.”
The South Dakota Department of Health on Tuesday reported 48 new positive cases of COVID-19. Tuesday's report brings the state's total number of cases to 6,764. There are currently 801 total active cases.
While South Dakota’s overall curve has declined, June has seen a slight uptick, as businesses start to reopen.
“We told those folks that have concerns that they can stay home. But those who want to come and join us, we’ll be giving out free face masks if they choose to wear one, but we won’t be social distancing,” Noem said.
She continued, ”We’re asking them to come, be ready to celebrate, to enjoy the freedoms and the liberties that we have in this country, and to talk about our history and what it bought us today with an opportunity to raise our kids in the greatest country in the world.”
On Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci delivered a dire warning regarding the United States’ handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying that he “would not be surprised” if the country saw up to 100,000 new coronavirus cases daily if this does not turn around.
The surge in COVID-19 cases across the country has prompted many state officials and leaders to reinforce social distancing and re-close businesses.
On Monday, California and Arizona ordered that bars close down due to a spike in coronavirus infections in the state. Additionally, Florida is experiencing a drastic increase in new COVID-19 cases, reporting close to 10,000 new infections on June 25 alone.