San Franciscans Ignore Stay-at-Home Order to Picnic in Parks on Easter Weekend

People around the city of San Francisco ignored stay-at-home measures in the state of California during Easter Weekend. Groups could be seen enjoying the sunshine in Washington Square, Golden Gate Park and Dolores Park—picnicking, strolling, dancing, and relaxing on the grass.

San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin was disheartened by the lack of regard for the stay-at-home measures in Washington Square this weekend.

"Now is not the time for holiday picnics. We're a city that values individual freedoms, but this is a life or death battle to contain the virus," Peskin told Newsweek. "If you have the capacity to shelter safely in place, we want you to stay home to save lives. We don't want to have to enforce but we will be stepping up citations if San Franciscans can't take the mandate seriously."

California has adopted strict stay-at-home measures to help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The rules state that unless residents are essential workers, getting some exercise or going to buy items from the pharmacy or grocery store, they must remain home.

Park officials walked through Dolores Park at the weekend and reminded groups and individuals to maintain social-distancing practices. Police drove-by in their vehicles while projecting loud recorded messages to go home and "please leave the park."

San Francisco residents in the park explained that they were maintaining social-distancing and were six feet apart. Nikki Poppiti told KPIX 5: "I saw people and it was sunny out and I was like, 'I will maintain my distance, I'll work on my laptop. But I want to not be alone with just my thoughts and my overpriced one bedroom that I share with four other people."

Supervisor Peskin told Newsweek that city provisions have been made for those in vulnerable living conditions. "Of course, there are those who cannot shelter safely in place because they are surviving in congregate living settings, which include our homeless shelters, Single Resident Occupancy (SRO) hotels and on our streets," he said. "The Board of Supervisors just unanimously passed emergency legislation to mandate the procurement of 8,250 vacant hotel rooms to quarantine these populations and stop the spread. It's the medically sound, fiscally prudent, and unquestionably moral path to take."

Some nations have adopted creative schemes where selected people are only allowed out in the mornings or evenings to reduce contact on the streets, as numbers in populated areas are still high when people are exercising or doing runs for essential items.

Many parks and public spaces are closed in the Bay Area and around the state of California to reduce the amount of social interaction, but some remain open so people can get exercise at safe distances.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there have been more than 1.8 million cases of coronavirus to date and more than 110,000 deaths as a result of the virus. Around 435,000 have recovered from the disease.

This article was updated to add comment from San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin.

Mission Dolores Park San Francisco
View at the city center from Mission Dolores Park on October 10, 2013 in San Francisco, United States. People around the city of San Francisco ignored stay-at-home measures in the state of California during Easter Weekend, 2020. Margarethe Wichert/Getty Images

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Advice on Using Face Coverings to Slow Spread of COVID-19

  • CDC recommends wearing a cloth face covering in public where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.
  • A simple cloth face covering can help slow the spread of the virus by those infected and by those who do not exhibit symptoms.
  • Cloth face coverings can be fashioned from household items. Guides are offered by the CDC. (
  • Cloth face coverings should be washed regularly. A washing machine will suffice.
  • Practice safe removal of face coverings by not touching eyes, nose, and mouth, and wash hands immediately after removing the covering.

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before, during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • Avoid close contact with others if you have any symptoms.
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and runny nose, to avoid potential spread of the disease to medical facilities and other people.
  • If you develop serious symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and contact local health authorities in advance.
  • Note any recent contact with others and travel details to provide to authorities who can trace and prevent spread of the disease.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask and glove usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of the mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.
  • Regularly washing bare hands is more effective against catching COVID-19 than wearing rubber gloves.
  • The COVID-19 virus can still be picked up on rubber gloves and transmitted by touching your face.