On Easter Sunday in Pensacola, Florida the police department got several calls about a block party being held in the Attucks Court community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
NO SOCIAL DISTANCING: We’ve received several videos of this Easter party in Pensacola yesterday. I took this video from a distance. Tonight on Ch3, find out why the police didn’t break it up. @weartv #COVID19 #Easter #bigparty #Pensacola pic.twitter.com/4cmDBv3vpF
— Rebekah Castor (@RebekahCastorTV) April 13, 2020
When police arrived they found hundreds of people gathered together on 1300-block of W Cervantes St. They asked the event organizer what was going on and he said the event was supposed to be an Easter cookout for kids in the community. However, it quickly became flooded with young adults who clearly had no concern about coronavirus.
“Why are we going to be scared to come outside when we don’t even know what we’re looking for?” Wilbert McNeal, one of the party’s organizers told ABC3 WEARTV. “Corona, COVID-19 — it ain’t coming this way.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis announced on April 1st that the state was on a “Stay-At-Home” order and this wasn’t an April Fools’ joke. The residents of the state are only supposed to be going out for essential services or activities to keep the people safe. According to the Worldometers, the state has had 21,367 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 524 have died from it as of April 14th, 2020.
The officers walked over to the barbecue cook first and shut that down while other officers spoke over loud intercom speakers telling partygoers to leave. It took the police two hours to get everyone to disperse. They didn’t arrest anyone and they didn’t give anybody citations. They just educated the folks on coronavirus and by 7pm everyone was finally back in their homes.
“The officers were really just educating those at the party about the importance of social distancing,” Officer Mike Wood said. “Many of those in attendance were young and we were trying to explain to them that while they may think they’re not at high risk for the virus, they can bring it home to their older family members.”