MELBOURNE, Fla. — Celebrating our nation's birthday is different this year with coronavirus cases spiking.

What You Need To Know

  • Doctors urge people to practice social distancing, cleanliness this July 4

  • Urge people who have been exposed to COVID-19 to not attend events

  • Get more coronavirus coverage

Doctors are urging people to still practice safe habits over the July 4 weekend, from proper spacing at family gatherings, to hand washing and even food handling.

Debra Zeitz and family were enjoying a hot beach day Thursday as we approach the Fourth of July weekend.

They are making sure her 10-year-old granddaughter Reagan is staying safely away from others, and getting enough sunscreen.

Due to the pandemic, they are celebrating the holiday differently this year by limiting family and friends they'd normally gather with.

"At home, in our pool, yes," Zeitz said. "Several of our friends who we would typically get together with are out of town, and a couple of other older friends have health issues."

Which is good advice, says Dr. Brian Harris, medical director of Altamonte Pediatric Associates​.

Harris says you should also ask those who have been exposed to the virus to not come.

"You want to social distance within your own group," said Dr. Harris. "You have a family group who stay together, and other groups of family members should be six feet apart."

Dr. Harris has some other tips for those gathering.

Hand washing is still key, and wearing masks is important if social distancing isn't possible.

"If two groups of people, or two families are wearing masks, and they are outside, very unlikely that you are going to spread the virus," he said.

It's not just the virus that's concerning.

With fireworks now legal in Florida, and many public displays canceled, some families will light up their own.

Dr. Harris says be cautious.

"Make sure you have an adult lighting the fireworks, keep the children away, and always have a nice, flat surface," he advised.​

Dr. Harris also advises against buffet-style meals during holiday gatherings.​ He encourages people to bring their own utensils and have only one person serve the food.

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