San Jose police will be keeping a watchful eye on the expected Cinco de Mayo celebrations Tuesday night, but the department has reiterated that it doesn't plan to send officers into a crowd if the only rule breaking is not sheltering at home.
Police said there’s too much crime to fight to focus on the shelter order brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is not a public safety issue,” Chief Eddie Garcia said. “It’s a health issue. And to continue to have law enforcement involved in these issues and expecting law enforcement to go into large crowds to give citations for violation of the health order is not realistic.”
Concerns about crowds come after hundreds of people gathered Sunday at a local shopping center and celebrated en masse.
Most of the revelers were not interested in social distancing or masks. Community leaders point out that’s especially concerning because Latinos make up 38% of the coronavirus cases in Santa Clara County.
Merchant Carlos Diaz captured pictures of the weekend festivities. He was pleased to see more police out in force on Tuesday.
“I think it’s a necessary measure because we have to continue to let people know that it’s not OK to gather in masses,” he said. “The pandemic is not over.”
A security guard at the shopping center said he hopes the impromptu celebration doesn’t repeat itself. On Tuesday, he kicked out drivers who weren’t there to shop, including street vendors who quickly moved to another location.
Some vendors are struggling to make ends meet, especially those who have vending as their only source of income.
“I feel bad because right now I haven’t been working for two months,” vendor Sylvia Morquecho said, adding she hasn’t paid her rent in those two months.
She said what happened Sunday had consequences for many.
Meanwhile, county leaders are urging the community to celebrate Cinco de Mayo at home.
"It would be a wonderful day for a regular Cinco de Mayo, but it’s not a regular day today," Diaz said.