Florida Police Break Up Easter Sunday Block Party Violating Social Distancing Practices

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Submitted by Take Out on Mon, 04/13/2020 - 17:16

Police in Florida broke up a large Easter gathering in Pensacola Sunday evening that was taking place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

WEAR Channel 3 News received a tip about a large Easter party happening in the Attucks Court community in the 1300-block of W Cervantes St. in Pensacola.

Our news crew captured video from afar of a large gathering of about 150-200 people -- this despite social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic and a "Safer at Home" order implemented by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Channel 3 spoke to several attendees at the event who shared no concerns about the coronavirus or the need to social distance. Only a handful of the attendees were wearing masks. An event organizer said the party was an Easter cookout for kids in the community.

“Why are we going to be scared to come outside when we don’t even know what we’re looking for?" said Wilbert McNeal, one of the party's organizers. "Corona, COVID-19 -- it ain’t coming this way.”

Channel 3 spoke to the Pensacola Police Department about the large gathering.

Officer Mike Wood tells us Pensacola Police sent officers out to the party. Chief Tommi Lyter was also on scene.

“It took our officers about two hours to end the party,” Wood said.

Wood says the party was dispersed by about 7 p.m. No citations were issued and no arrests were made.

“The officers were really just educating those at the party about the importance of social distancing,” 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.”

Wood says many attendees left the party after the officers spoke to them.

Wood also says if a Pensacola resident witnesses a large gathering, they can call the police department and they will send officers out to help disperse it.

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