NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Labor Day Weekend marks the unofficial end of summer and many use the time off to gather, but this year, given the pandemic the holiday looks very different from previous years.
The City of New Haven is continuing the push to make sure everyone is responsible while gathering and celebrating their holiday. This comes just 48 hours after thousands of motorcyclists descended upon the Elm City for the East Coastin’ Crew’s Summer Ender Celebration.
City leaders tell News 8 the group was told the cancel event by New Haven Police, but put on the event anyway, telling participants to be respectful.
Witnesses tell News 8 a number of riders were seen throughout the city without masks and with little to no social distancing taking place.
The event and other large gatherings create concern for city leaders who fear a COVID-19 case spike.
“What was concerning is not just that people were willing to go through with an event or a large gathering without the support of police, but there were a lot of people who weren’t wearing masks and not social distancing,” said Mayor Justin Elicker.
News 8 reached out to New Haven Police for statistics on arrests made, but according to Capt. Anthony Duff, that data won’t be fully known until Tuesday. However, Mayor Elicker says while no arrests were made to his knowledge, a number of motor vehicle citations were issued to drivers who were in the Forbes Avenue area on Saturday.
City leaders tell News 8 the event also forced more New Haven Police Officers to patrol the area to disperse crowds, pulling resources from Elm City neighborhoods.
“We’ve got a lot of other challenges in the city right now and for people to come in mass to New Haven for an unauthorized event is very hurtful to the city,” said Mayor Elicker.
Mayor Elicker says arrests in these instances of large gatherings are the last resort, but say the city is working to keep coronavirus cases low, so he hopes residents and visitors will respect the health safety parameters in place.
“I think it’s important for people to understand that with COVID as we get into the colder weather and we start to stay more inside there’s the likelihood that we will see more cases and it’ll be more complicated with flu season, so it underscores that we are not out of the woods,” said Mayor Elicker.
News 8 reached out to the East Coastin’ Crew for comment, but we have not heard back.