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Sacramento-Area Cities Divided As Loosened Restrictions Make Way For Ramped Up Summer Plans

DAVIS (CBS13) – Summer is right around the corner and cities across the Sacramento region are making decisions about which events will take place and which events won't as loosened restrictions allow for more activities.

The City of Davis on Wednesday announced that its annual Fourth of July festivities and fireworks at Community Park were canceled this year due to pandemic public health considerations.

The City said alternative ways to celebrate Independence Day are being discussed and any plans made will be communicated to the public.

"The City regrets that we cannot hold this annual event loved by so many," Mayor Gloria Partida said. "We have worked so hard as a community to combat COVID, and out of an abundance of caution, the best public health decision we can make at this time is to not host a large event."

On April 17, UC Davis held its 107th annual Picnic Day in an all-virtual setting. The event, which "showcases the richness of diversity and achievement at UC Davis and the surrounding community in the areas of research, teaching, service, and campus life," as described by the Picnic Day website, is one of the more popular events in the city drawing thousands of people each year.

Despite the significance of events like Picnic Day and Independence Day celebrations, city officials point to unpredictable changes with the pandemic as a cause for concern.

"As we have learned over the last year, pandemic conditions can change quickly, and we must also look at the financial implications of waiting until the last minute to cancel this event," said Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs. "Primarily though, we must stay vigilant with COVID precautions and see them through to the end of the pandemic."

Meanwhile, areas like Auburn and Yuba-Sutter are planning big Fourth of July celebrations.

"I guess this is breaking news. We're going to make it official. Auburn is full steam ahead," said Jackie Weston, executive director of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce.

The Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds in Yuba City will unlock their gates for guests this summer.

"All of our entry points will have touchless kiosks, a lot of sanitation, restrictions in terms of attendance levels," said Dave Dilabo, CEO of the fairgrounds.

Cities like Elk Grove and Sacramento have yet to make decisions about summer events, citing a lack of guidance from the state. So CBS13 asked the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) about the June 15 reopening date and what that means for large-scale events.

The CDPH tells CBS13 that if there are enough vaccines available and hospitalization rates are low, the economy will fully reopen but large-scale higher-risk events will likely require testing or proof of vaccination.

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