Sun, 09 Aug 2020

HOUSTON, July 4 (Xinhua) -- There is no public activity and access to the annual Houston Fourth of July celebration Saturday night as COVID-19 continues its rapid spread in the U.S. state of Texas.

According to the Texas Health and Human Services, as of Saturday, there are 191,790 confirmed COVID-19 cases reported in the state, an increase of 8,258 from Friday. The death toll reached 2,608.

"Freedom Over Texas," Houston's annual Fourth of July celebration, will be held without public activities or public access due to the continued fast spread of the coronavirus.

In a written statement, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said, "The city of Houston will celebrate freedom this year, but out of an abundance of caution during the COVID-19 pandemic, we want people to stay home and watch the fireworks."

"The virtual celebration will include a dazzling display of red, white, and blue as we reflect on the history of our country and the challenging events of 2020," the statement continued.

Following Texas Governor Greg Abbott's statewide face covering mandate, Lina Hidalgo, judge of Harris County where Houston is located, has issued an order prohibiting outdoor gatherings of 10 or more people. The order went into effect on July 3, and will last until Aug. 26.

The order came at a time when people are celebrating Fourth of July weekend. According to the order, fireworks displays that were permitted in unincorporated Harris County and are viewed from inside a motor vehicle are permitted.

Also, fireworks displays and gatherings with more than 100 people viewing them from outside a vehicle are prohibited.

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