San Francisco Mayor London Breed closed parking lots at a popular local beach on Sunday after saying more than 1,000 people gathered there to celebrate Burning Man in defiance of coronavirus restrictions.
“It was absolutely reckless and selfish,” she tweeted. “You’re not partying. You are putting people’s lives in danger. You are putting our progress at risk. No one is immune from the spread of the virus. “
To avoid a repeat, Breed said she was closing parking lots at Ocean Beach, west of the city, and law enforcement would patrol the 3.5 mile stretch of the Pacific coast on Sunday.
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The annual event, which takes place around Labor Day in the Black Rock Desert, north of Reno, Nevada, is virtual this year. But Burning Man began in 1986 at Baker Beach in San Francisco, and a social media post appeared to show a handful of people celebrating on Saturday.
Other posts showed a much larger contingent at Ocean Beach.
Brook Casey, a real estate agent who attended the Ocean Beach event, said its organizers were diligent in providing masks for attendees who did not have them and people mostly stayed in separate groups overnight .
Casey, 39, said he was there with a circle of close friends with whom he has remained in contact throughout the pandemic.
“I’m out, I’m at the beach with friends I know,” he says. “I felt safe taking this risk.”
San Francisco has recorded just over 9,900 coronavirus cases, according to public health data. Eighty-six people have died. The city eased its restrictions on coronavirus slightly on September 1, when it allowed nail salons, barber shops and a few other types of businesses to reopen outdoors.
But outdoor gatherings are not supposed to exceed 12 people.