SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The annual 4/20 celebration on Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park has been canceled for the second year in a row due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings, San Francisco officials announced Tuesday.
“Anyone traveling to Golden Gate Park or Hippie Hill looking for a party will be disappointed,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement.READ MORE: Brush Fire Burns In North San Jose, Milpitas Along Coyote Creek Area
According to the Recreation and Park Department, fencing will go up in the open space officially named Robin Williams Meadow on Monday, April 19 and remain in place through Wednesday the 21st. Access to Nancy Pelosi Drive and Bowling Green Drive will be restricted to the tennis center and museums during that period. MLK Jr. Way between Kezar Drive to the Botanical Gardens will also be closed.
The area will also see increased patrols by police, rangers and parking control officers. Violators may receive citations.
“Hippie Hill will be completely inaccessible. Law enforcement will be patrolling the area. It will be a serious buzzkill,” said Rec and Park general manager Phil Ginsburg.READ MORE: COVID: San Francisco's City Employee Vaccine Mandate Is Not A First In America
While Breed acknowledged the progress made in the fight against the virus with ongoing declines in cases and increased vaccinations, the mayor said “we are still not at the point where we can allow large, crowded events.”
San Francisco Department of Public Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said a celebration like the ones held in the past could cause a setback in the reopening process. “We are very concerned about the surges we are seeing in other parts of the country and in Europe that are being fueled by variants. We need to take the possibility of a fourth surge seriously,” Colfax said.
Organizers of the event are urging revelers to celebrate 4/20 at home.MORE NEWS: Recall Election: Republican Candidate Faulconer Slams Newsom on Crime
The celebration of all things cannabis has drawn large crowds to Golden Gate Park, long before the state legalized recreational use. An estimated 14,000 people attended the most recent 4/20 celebration at Hippie Hill in 2019.