WASHINGTON: The annual fireworks display on the National Mall will go ahead this July 4 as the United States recovers from the coronavirus pandemic that has nixed large gatherings for more than a year.
The National Park Service said on Tuesday the 17-minute display will be launched at 9:09 p.m. EDT (0109 GMT) on the Independence Day holiday, from both sides of the reflecting pool in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
It is another sign the country is making a return to more normal times. President Joe Biden set July 4 as a target date to vaccinate 70per cent of American adults against COVID-19, which has killed 600,000 people in the United States.
Masks will be required on all public transportation, the park service said, and people who are not vaccinated should continue to wear masks outdoors in crowded spaces.
"Watching the Fourth of July fireworks from the National Mall against the backdrop of the monuments and memorials is one of the grandest traditions of our nation’s capital," said Jeff Reinbold, superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks.
"This year’s display not only celebrates the 245th anniversary of American independence, but also marks an important step forward as the city emerges from the pandemic."
The park service said it would release more details on the event on its website later this month.
New York City last week said its annual Macy's July 4th fireworks display will return this summer, after the pandemic led officials to opt for a series of smaller shows in 2020 to discourage crowds from gathering.
(Reporting by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bernadette Baum)