But in some states with rising daily case counts, it will be business as usual this weekend. Missouri’s Lake of the Ozarks, which typically attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors from Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Arkansas for the holiday, is preparing for crowds. There will be fireworks, live music and pool parties, and accommodations are widely sold out.
“When people are out having fun and partying, they’re boisterous, they’re yelling, they’re spraying from their mouth, and it goes even further than when you’re just speaking to people,” said Dr. Sharon Frey, an infectious-diseases researcher at St. Louis University. “What we see at the Ozarks are lots of parties. It’s known as the party place.”
Yet for a few Americans with easy access to wide-open spaces, this weekend will be no different than in years past. Kelly Coday, a resident of Broken Arrow, Okla., said he and his family would join his best friend’s family for an easygoing ritual — a cookout and fireworks along the Verdigris River, with a view of wheat fields and cow pastures.
Mr. Coday was relieved that the pandemic had not hit Oklahoma as badly as in other states. He has been confused by the call to remove so many monuments in the wake of Mr. Floyd’s death. And he thinks that some police departments need systemic change. Nonetheless, he planned to celebrate his country on Saturday.
“This is an extraordinarily tough time we’re living in right now,” said Mr. Coday, 54. However, “Americans are resilient. I believe we’re going to make it, and get through all this, and come out on the other side stronger.”
Richard Fausset reported from Atlanta, Mitch Smith from Chicago and Sabrina Tavernise from Washington. Thomas Fuller contributed reporting from San Francisco, Patricia Mazzei from Miami and Melina Delkic from New York.