SAN FRANCISCO— On Sunday, September 6, San Francisco Mayor London Breed and other city officials closed parking lots at Ocean Beach for the rest of the weekend after a large group of over 1,000 people gathered there on Saturday, September 5 to celebrate the Burning Man Festival.
Burning Man is an annual festival that normally takes place around Labor Day weekend. Thousands of people congregate in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert. In the desert, the festival is held at Black Rock City, a temporarily established community in which art, creativity, and self-expression are valued. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, preventing what would have been the 34th edition of the Burning Man festival, organizers took the event virtual. They created a virtual reimagining of the festival called the ‘Multiverse’ featuring programs that festival attendees can access through their computer, phone, or virtual reality headset.
Separate from the festival organizers, the Collective Conscious and Trap Home Productions organized an in-person party at Ocean Beach on Saturday night. According to the SF Examiner, nearby residents heard loud music and experienced traffic late Saturday night, as gatherers at the beach violated San Francisco’s COVID-related health protocols.
On Sunday morning, Mayor Breed tweeted, “Last night, over 1,000 people crowded on Ocean Beach to celebrate Burning Man. 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 know people love Burning Man & people want to get together this weekend. But we all need to do our part. Stay home, stay safe.”