News & Politics

DC Likely Won’t Have Fourth of July Parades

President Trump still plans a "Salute to America" on the National Mall

Last year's parade along Constitution Avenue. Photograph by Andrew Beaujon.
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What will this year’s Fourth of July look like in the nation’s capital? Paradeless, most likely. In a press conference today, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser said the District of Columbia would not issue any permits for parades during Phase One of the city’s reopening. That first phase, expected to begin Friday, would continue until the District contains the virus to localized transmission…which could take a while.

Even if we hit Phase Two of reopening by the Fourth (hitting Phase 3 would by then would be nothing short of miraculous), gatherings during that stage are still limited to less than 50 people. Which would likely still mean no parades.

Though it seems like organizers of local celebrations are willing to follow the recommendations of the DC government, President Trump is still gung-ho about a repeat of his “Salute to America” celebration on the National Mall. Trump has previously said this year’s celebration would incorporate social distancing, but it’s unclear how that would be enforced.

Bowser has said she is in conversation with the federal government about DC’s public health situation, and hasn’t ruled out the possibility of closing roads around the National Mall, as she did during this year’s Cherry Blossom Festival. However, as the National Parks are federally owned land, Bowser doesn’t have the authority to close the Mall itself, and the National Park Service has said a Fourth of July celebration is still in the works.

Jane Recker
Assistant Editor

Jane is a Chicago transplant who now calls Cleveland Park her home. Before joining Washingtonian, she wrote for Smithsonian Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. She is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied journalism and opera.