Large Florida Easter Party Broken up by Police Amid CCP Virus Stay-at-Home Order

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
April 14, 2020Updated: April 14, 2020

A large party in Florida was dispersed by police officers on Easter, but no arrests were made.

Florida, like most states in America, is under a stay at home order. Residents have been ordered to not leave home except for essential trips and activities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A social gathering in a public space is not an essential activity. Local jurisdictions shall ensure that groups of people greater than ten are not permitted to congregate in any public space,” Gov. Ron DeSantis’ order states.

A party in Pensacola on Sunday appeared to include over 150 people, according to video footage captured and circulated on social media.

The videos showed hundreds of people congregating in Attucks Court, an apartment complex west of downtown Pensacola. Police officers with masks arrived and started speaking with attendees, prompting them to gradually disperse.

It took two hours to break up the gathering, Officer Mike Wood, a Pensacola Police Department spokesman, told The Epoch Times in an email. No arrests were made or citations issued “because it was not needed at that time,” he said.

“Our officers took the opportunity to advise the people of the current dangers of gathering in large groups,” he added.

An event organizer described it as an Easter cookout for children in the community.

Epoch Times Photo
Volunteers deliver bagged lunches and food boxes to people in need in Miami, Florida on April 11, 2020. (Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images)

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

Social distancing, which refers to a range of measures including staying at least six feet from people you don’t live with and not having large gatherings, is being implemented across the country in a bid to slow the spread of the virus.

Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees told reporters on Monday that residents should keep social distancing until a vaccine is available. Health experts say that will likely take until next year.

“Until we get a vaccine, which is a while off, this is going to be our new normal and we need to adapt and protect ourselves,” Rivkees claimed. “We’re going to have to practice these measures so that we are all protected.”

Other experts have recommended loosening the strict lockdowns and letting businesses and schools reopen soon while keeping some guidelines in place, including advising or requiring people to wear masks when in indoor public places.

While a vaccine is still far off, a range of existing or experimental drugs are being tested against COVID-19, including hydroxychloroquine, Kevzara, and favipiravir.

Florida’s stay at home order went into effect on April 1 for the state’s 21 million residents. The state had 21,637 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning and 25 deaths from COVID-19.

The new disease is caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.