SAN FRANCISCO—Despite health warnings against large gatherings on Halloween, people flocked to San Francisco Castro District on Halloween night. On October 29, San Francisco health officials specifically warned against celebrating in the Castro District:

“This Halloween, please don’t come to the Castro looking for a party. If you are coming to the neighborhood to shop or dine, do so early in the day and only with those you live with or see regularly. If you see a crowd gathering, please go home”, read a statement from San Francisco Supervisor Rafael Mandelman.

Throughout the month of October, health officials in San Francisco had been urging people to take caution while trick-or-treating, and to avoid Halloween parties. The Castro District has been a traditional gathering spot for partygoers on Halloween for years, and usually attracts the biggest crowds in the city each year. Despite the crowds of people, this year’s gathering in the Castro District was significantly less compared to previous years.

During sunset on Halloween, the Castro District was bustling with activity as people anticipated the night ahead. Restaurants were full of people, though this year many businesses in downtown San Francisco chose to close early at 9 p.m. in an effort to keep the crowds at bay.

Both the Merchants Association and the San Francisco Department of Public Works have been working to maintain crowd control, as health officials have pointed out that San Francisco will lose the progress it has made against the spread of COVID-19 if people continue to disregard health guidelines.

“All of this progress could be erased if we behave irresponsibly this weekend and in the coming weeks. Across the country in cities like Philadelphia and Los Angeles, cases are surging-due at least in part to people gathering in large and small groups. If that happens in San Francisco we may have to choose once again between saving lives and shutting down,” read a statement from massed Samerei, president of the Castro Merchants Association.