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Large Outdoor Gathering Prompts Clampdown On Tents In Downtown Davis

DAVIS (CBS13) — Davis is making changes after a massive party last weekend under a tent set up by the city itself.

Davis officials had organized the tents and tables to help local restaurants, which were restricted to takeout only, attract people to the city's downtown core amid the coronavirus pandemic.

However, over the weekend, a large gathering took place in one of the downtown tents.

"It looks like it was all college students," said Kimo Bernauer from A Grand Affair Rental, who owns the tents.

In video taken by bystanders, dozens of people could be seen packed into a tent. It's unclear if it was a planned event.

"I came back in the morning [and] tables were flipped over," Bernauer said. "Garbage [was] everywhere."

The city says they met with the Davis Downtown Business Association this week in response to the event. A series of changes have now been agreed upon to try and prevent such large gatherings from taking place again.

"After we saw the video ... we needed to make a change down here," said Davis Police Chief Darren Pytel.

Pytel says the larger tents were not assigned to businesses on that block.

"With this tent, it wasn't assigned to a certain business and so it became a free for all - which is what we saw this last weekend," he said.

Smaller tents will still be allowed and assigned to specific businesses in conjunction with beefed-up police patrols at night, effective immediately.

"The City is trying to help downtown businesses during the pandemic by allowing the flexible use of outdoor space, but public health has to come first" said Vice Mayor Lucas Frerichs in a statement.

The large tent along G Street, between Second and Third streets, is being removed. Further, the city decided that there will be no general open container zone along G Street.

Another tent along the E Street Plaza area is also being removed.

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