After a number of local publications including the Bay Area Reporter, SFist, the Chronicle, and Curbed all covered the strangely vague stance being taken by SF Pride concerning the late June parade and weekend-long festival, SF Mayor London Breed made a comment Wednesday suggesting that it won't be happening.
Breed was still being ginger in her phrasing during a press briefing alongside other city officials. But as Mission Local reports, she said that when it comes to Pride, "once the shelter in order is lifted there is going to be a gradual process to get the city back on track and some level of normalcy, and I think it may not be possible to think we can launch a large-scale event."
How you do Pride as a small-scale event remains to be seen. The issue is that it's unrealistic to imagine a way to have a Pride weekend at all, inviting as it always does young people from around the Bay Area to descend on Civic Center to party, and maintain social distance to prevent another uptick in virus cases as most experts predict could happen as sheltering restrictions are lifted. And that doesn't even take into account the tourism from elsewhere in the country that Pride Week typically attracts.
As former SFist editor Brock Keeling writes on Curbed:
SF Pride draws in nearly 1 million people annually. That’s a lot of people to cram into a city measuring roughly seven-by-seven miles. Those people, who come from around the world to celebrate, would need to use city infrastructure, like public transportation and city sidewalks, in heavy volume. And don’t forget about hotel taxes for which the city is most desperate... The weekend-long celebration, which extends into the entire week, also sees bars, nightclubs, parks, theaters, and other areas busting at the seams with people. It’s too much this year.
SF Pride Executive Director Fred Lopez, up until last week, was still trying to dance around the decision, and the organization behind the celebration issued a statement last month saying the staff was "cautiously optimistic that taking sensible — if unprecedented — measures now will enable us to celebrate Pride 50 together as a community." That seems naive and irresponsibly optimistic.
Meanwhile, a source with city connections tells SFist that the city itself doesn't want Pride completely canceled — because of the above-mentioned hotel tax revenue — and is therefore pushing for postponement.
And, also, a new report delivered to the White House on Wednesday suggests that all research so far is inconclusive on the question of whether the novel coronavirus is less apt to spread in warm weather — suggesting that a hoped-for lull in virus cases in the summer is not likely to occur.
"Given that countries currently in ‘summer’ climates, such as Australia and Iran, are experiencing rapid virus spread, a decrease in cases with increases in humidity and temperature elsewhere should not be assumed," the report says.
Top image: Thomas Hawk