Health Officials Remind Residents Drive-By Celebrations Aren't Allowed

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The COVID-19 crisis has led to the cancelation of many milestone and landmark events including thousands of weddings, funerals, anniversary celebrations and graduations. 

One big way people have tried to make up for their loss are drive-by celebrations but in the wake of recent crowded events, the Santa Clara County Public Health Department is reminding the public that those celebrations are not allowed either. 

Lina Burciaga is very proud of her son Rey’s accomplishments. He just graduated from San Jose State University with a double major in finance and business, but his public graduation ceremony was canceled by COVID-19.

“I was heartbroken,” said graduate Rey Garduno. “It was like someone punched you in the gut.”

Garduno said a lot of his classmates cried, “they had plans, big venues, big parties, big barbecues, it was a heartbreaker.”

Burciaga is arranging a drive-by celebration for her son and three fellow graduates. She plans a banner and a mariachi band, all for family and friends to drive by and cheer, though without stopping and without physical contact. 

 “I want to show him we are so proud of him,” Burciaga said.

However, in the wake of a few very large public gatherings recently, the public health department said car caravans are still prohibited because they’re not considered essential travel.

The San Jose Fire Department had agreed to send an engine to Burciaga’s event once details were finalized but on Thursday, a spokeswoman said the department will no longer participate due to the public health order.

Burciaga is weighing options and not giving up.

“That’s what my mom does, she’s Superwoman,” said Garduno.

San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia has said publicly he doesn’t have the staff to try to clamp down on public celebrations but Burciaga says she hopes she doesn’t have to count on that.

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