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Coronavirus in Texas

How Texans celebrated July Fourth during the coronavirus pandemic

Four Texas Tribune photographers went out to see how Texans were celebrating the holiday as the new coronavirus surges and new restrictions are imposed to stem its rise. Here's what they saw.

People watch a fireworks display from the parking lot of Church of the Springs in Dripping Springs on July 4, 2020.

*Correction appended

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.

But this Fourth of July was like no other. COVID-19 is surging across the state, and not just in the cities. Memorial Day weekend is now widely seen as a turning point, when people flocked to newly reopened bars and other businesses after the state had seemed to escape the worst of the pandemic’s early weeks.

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.

A family waves as they drive by a decorated house as part of Allandale Neighborhood’s Reverse Parade for the Fourth of Jul...
Rebecca Whittaker-Enzinger reads along with others at the annual Fourth of July reading of the Declaration of Independence...
Jon West takes a photo of his daughter Emma, 5 at the annual Fourth of July reading of the Declaration of Independence at ...
Schlitterbahn Water Park on July 4, 2020.
North Padre Island Beaches were closed to vehicular access from Friday, July 3 to Tuesday, July 7, 2020 to discourage crow...
Neighbors in East Austin have gotten together for over 100 days to chat, sing and dance.
Patriotic bunting lines a closed playground in the Lost Creek neighborhood of West Austin on July 4, 2020.
Families interact with a miniature horse at a decorated house as part of Allandale Neighborhoodís Reverse Parade for the F...
A family tours the Texas State Aquarium in Corpus Christi on the Fourth of July.  The aquarium reduced its capacity to no ...
People stand in a socially-distanced line to buy fireworks at a fireworks stand in Buda on the Fourth of July.
Families attend a fireworks show at Doc’s Drive-in Theatre in Buda to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. July 4, 2020.
Boaters on Lake Austin on July 4, 2020.
Two men kayak at Lady Bird Lake on Saturday, July 4, 2020 in Austin.
Tubing in New Braunfels, TX on July 4, 2020.
Families attend a fireworks show at Doc’s Drive-in Theatre in Buda to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday.

Correction: Due to an editing error, a photo caption in an earlier version of this story misidentified Lake Austin.

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