In light of rising COVID-19 cases in the state and metro-Atlanta area, Brookhaven city officials are asking those who have not been vaccinated to skip the city’s block party this weekend. 

The Cherry Blossom Summer Block Party is set to take place July 30-31. The event is meant to take place of the city’s annual Cherry Blossom Festival, which was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The block party is also meant to celebrate the city’s resilience throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, specifically those in the food and music industries that were hit by the subsequent economic downturn.

City spokesperson Burke Brennan said Brookhaven will follow all state and local mandates with regards to COVID-19. But with cases on the rise in the metro area, the city is encouraging non-vaccinated individuals not to attend. 

“We are asking that anyone who has not been vaccinated … please skip the festival, as we are trying to create a fun and safe space for everyone,” Brennan said in an email. 

Brennan said the city is not sure how many people will attend the block party, but in years past, the Cherry Blossom Festival has drawn an estimated 40,000 people. 

Brookhaven recently extended its COVID-19 state of emergency at a July 27 Brookhaven City Council meeting. Part of that extension was due to rising cases as well as the Delta Variant, a lineage of the virus that is more transmissible than others. 

Brookhaven did not include a mask mandate with that extension, but Atlanta reinstated an indoor mask mandate on July 28. The Centers of Disease Prevention and Control announced July 27 that fully vaccinated people should begin wearing masks indoors again in public areas of “substantial or high transmission.” DeKalb County is considered an area of high transmission as of July 29. 

Sammie Purcell

Sammie Purcell is a staff writer for Reporter Newspapers.