San Francisco officials plan to put up fencing around Robin Williams Meadow and add additional police patrols on April 20, 2021 to deter would be celebrants of the 4/20 cannabis holiday. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

San Francisco officials plan to put up fencing around Robin Williams Meadow and add additional police patrols on April 20, 2021 to deter would be celebrants of the 4/20 cannabis holiday. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)

City cancels 4/20 event at Golden Gate Park for second year due to COVID-19

Plans for the annual 4/20 celebration at Hippie Hill in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park next week have burned out as city officials announced on Tuesday the event has been canceled for the second consecutive year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

To ward off eventgoers, the city plans to put up fencing next week around Robin Williams Meadow, also known as Hippie Hill, starting next Monday and lasting through April 21.

Extra police officers will be on patrol on April 20 to disperse large gatherings and thwart the sale of marijuana. People who don’t comply may be cited, according to officials with the city’s Recreation and Park Department.

Although COVID-19 cases appear to be decreasing as more San Franciscans get vaccinated, Breed said the large gatherings like 4/20 still aren’t permitted under state regulations.

“Although we’re in a better place in our fight against COVID-19 than we were last year, we are still not at the point where we can allow large, crowded events,” Breed said in a statement. “Please do your part to keep our community safe and celebrate from home. Anyone traveling to Golden Gate Park or Hippie Hill looking for a party will be disappointed.”

“We have come so far as a city and attending an event like the 420 celebrations of previous years would set our reopening back significantly,” San Francisco Department of Health Director Dr. Grant Colfax said. “We hope that all 420 enthusiasts will do the right thing and enjoy this day from home.”

“Let me be blunt,” Recreation and Park Department General Manager Phil Ginsburg said. “Hippie Hill will be completely inaccessible. Law enforcement will be patrolling the area. It will be a serious buzzkill.”

Although the in-person event has been canceled, people looking for a way to celebrate can go to www.420hippiehill.com for information about livestream events happening on April 20.

The city first began sponsoring the annual pot celebration in 2017. Prior to that, it had gone on in the city unsanctioned for decades, often leading to traffic nightmares, instances of people urinating in public, damage to public and private property and a strain on police, park and transportation resources.

At the last event, in 2019, as many as 14,000 people showed up.

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