San Francisco’s mayor has described as ‘absolutely reckless and selfish’ a crowd of over 1,000 partygoers who descended on a city beach on Saturday night to unofficially celebrate Burning Man.
London Breed, mayor of the city, said on Sunday that she had closed the parking lot at Ocean Beach to prevent a repeat of Saturday’s gathering.
‘Last night, over 1,000 people crowded on Ocean Beach to celebrate Burning Man,’ she tweeted on Sunday.
‘This was absolutely reckless & selfish. You are not celebrating. You are putting people’s lives at risk. You are putting our progress at risk. No one is immune from spreading the virus.
‘We’ve heard people may return tonight. Don’t do it.’
Ocean Beach, beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, was awash with lights and partygoers on Saturday night
Local television station KPIX5 broadcast scenes showing DJs and light installations
Fires were lit on Ocean Beach as Californians celebrated the canceled festival
Breed, mayor since July 2018, said that police patrols had been stepped up along the waterfront.
‘We will be closing the parking lots at Ocean Beach. Law enforcement will be patrolling.
‘We know people love Burning Man & people want to get together this weekend. But we all need to do our part. Stay home, stay safe.’
Fliers circulating on Facebook promoted the event, with a series of DJs and bands announced
Burning Man, due to be held this weekend in Nevada, was canceled due to COVID-19, and was celebrated online. Some people have still traveled to the site, with the Bureau of Land Management permitting camping, provided they follow social distancing guidelines.
The festival begun in San Francisco in 1986, when artist Larry Harvey and his friend Jerry James knocked together an improvised wooden figure and dragged it down to Baker Beach on the Summer Solstice. They light it up, and a curious crowd gathers to watch it burn.
A small crowd also gathered at Baker Beach on Saturday night.
But the problem, Breed said, was at Ocean Beach, where loud music and flickering colored lights were seen along the water edge and a crowd was seen partying.
Multiple prohibited bonfires dotted the sand, according to SF Gate – in spite of a Spare the Air alert, which was issued as a result of the heat wave and is in effect until Monday.
On social media, people posted photos showing the Baker Beach gathering
One partygoer said it was ‘such an honor’ to be celebrating Burning Man on Baker Beach
The Ocean Beach parking lot in San Francisco was packed with people and cars on Saturday night
Ocean Beach’s parking lot was closed on Sunday after Saturday night’s revellery
San Francisco county has had 9,839 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 86 deaths.
The festivities came as California swelters under a record heat wave.
Records for temperatures were broken across the state, with Paso Robles having the hottest day in the city’s history, as the mercury hit 112 degrees on Saturday.
The Woodland Hills neighborhood of Los Angeles also had its hottest day ever, with temperatures reaching 117 degrees.
The wildfire warning for the Santa Barbara area was upgraded to a red flag.
On Saturday night the National Weather Service warned southern Californians that the conditions were likely to continue.
‘Expect a similar hot day tomorrow, with inland temperatures peaking between 110-120 degrees, hottest likely in the valleys,’ they tweeted.
‘There will be some cooling on Monday, but still well above normal for inland areas. Best cooling across the coast. Stay hydrated and cool!’
The National Weather Service warned on Saturday night of a ‘deadly heat wave’
Around 43 million Americans are under heat watch and have been told to stay indoors
Beaches across the state were packed with people on Saturday, soaking up the sun on the last official weekend of summer.
In Los Angeles, Santa Monica beach was crowded with families and friends seeking an escape from the heat.
On the other side of the county, in New Jersey, families gathered in Atlantic City to take advantage of the long weekend.
And in the south, in Florida, the beaches around Miami were a big draw, as people took to the sand to celebrate the Labor Day long weekend.
Santa Monica beach, west of downtown Los Angeles, was packed with people on Saturday
Large numbers of sun-seekers took to Santa Monica beach near Los Angeles on Saturday
Swimmers, paddlers and surfers all took to the waters off Santa Monica beach on Saturday
All along Santa Monica beach, people packed onto the sand with their friends and families
Santa Monica beach was busy with sun-worshipers, surfers and swimmers on Saturday amid the Labor Day holiday
Huntington Beach in California was packed with people cooling off in the waves on a scorching hot day
A woman sits beneath a lighted umbrella as a man plays trumpet near a drum circle on Venice Beach after sunset
Atlantic City in New Jersey saw crowds take to the beach on Saturday to enjoy the warmth
South Carolina’s Myrtle Beach was busy with people on Saturday, enjoying the sun
Sunny Isles Beach, 10 miles north of Miami Beach, was busy on Saturday
People took coolers and sports activities to Sunny Isles Beach on Saturday – or else buried their friends in sand
Many people brought parasols, tents and canopies to the beach in Florida to provide shade from the hot sun
The hot weather in Florida brought crowds of people to Sunny Isles Beach in Florida
Families in Florida took advantage of the long weekend and sunshine at Sunny Isles Beach