If Memorial Day unofficially signals the start of summer in Texas, the Fourth of July confirms that it’s here for the long haul. For many Texans, both holidays are about getting outside — hitting the beaches, going to parks, barbecuing, swimming — and on Independence Day, taking in a fireworks show and maybe setting a few off themselves.
Just over a month later, Texas is setting new records for new cases and hospitalizations nearly every day as hospitals across the state signal that they’re straining or surpassing their capacity.
Four Texas Tribune photographers went out this July 4 to see how Texans are adapting to the news of soaring cases and the return of some restrictions — including a nearly statewide mask requirement — as the state struggles to balance the health of its citizens and a reeling economy. Here’s a look at what they found.
First: Rebecca Whittaker-Enzinger attends the annual Fourth of July reading of the Declaration of Independence at the Nueces County Courthouse in Corpus Christi. Last: Jon West takes a photo of his daughter Emma, 5, as the Declaration of Independence is read.
Eddie Seal for The Texas Tribune
First: Neighbors in East Austin gathered July 4 to chat, sing and dance. They’ve hosted socially distanced events for more than 100 days. Last: Patriotic bunting lines a closed playground in the Lost Creek neighborhood in West Austin.
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune | Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune
First: People interact with a miniature horse at a decorated house that’s part of the Allandale neighborhood’s Fourth of July event in Austin. Last: Visitors tour the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi. The aquarium reduced its occupancy Friday to no more than 25%, and visitors are required to wear masks.
Allie Goulding/The Texas Tribune | Eddie Seal for The The Texas Tribune
First: People practice social distancing while waiting in line to buy fireworks at a stand in Buda. Last: People attend a fireworks show at Doc’s Drive In Theatre in Buda to celebrate the Fourth of July.
Eddie Gaspar/The Texas Tribune
First: Two men kayak on Lady Bird Lake in Austin. Last: People go tubing in New Braunfels.
Allie Goulding/The Texas Tribune | Jordan Vonderhaar for The Texas Tribune