U.S. President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump headed to Mount Rushmore National Memorial on Friday to kick off the July 4th celebrations amid the nationwide surge of new coronavirus cases.
Up to 7,500 people will attend the gathering and watch fireworks display at Mount Rushmore, midwestern state South Dakota, local media estimated.
No social distancing is planned for the event though free face masks will be given out at the event, Republican Governor Kristi Noem has said.
The Mount Rushmore fireworks displays had been stopped beginning in 2009 as a result of the risk of wildfires, but Trump has moved to revive the display this year, said a report from The Hill.
Coronavirus cases in South Dakota currently remain stable, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with 6,893 confirmed cases and 97 deaths as of Thursday.
The president is expected to be back in Washington and deliver remarks from the White House on Saturday at the 2020 "Salute to America," an event that will include multiple flyovers by military aircraft and a 35-minute fireworks display over the city.
Infections are up in at least 36 U.S. states as the country heads into the Independence Day weekend, according to a CNN tally on Friday. Much of the country has cancelled or scaled back traditional celebrations and events for the weekend as health experts warn that large gatherings could lead to spikes in COVID-19 cases at a time when the country is already experiencing significant surges.