Hundreds of maskless people showed up for the annual White Trash Bash in East Peoria over the weekend despite coronavirus cases on the rise in the state of Illinois,
At least 200 boats were packing the Illinois River, about 150 miles southwest of Chicago, as part of an all-day party that essentially revolves around people drinking and socializing in large groups.
None of the 500 partygoers were seen wearing face masks or observing social distancing measures despite authorities warning that cases of the disease in the area had been on the rise.
The organizers noted online they were ‘not experts’ about the coronavirus and all but admitted that those concerned about catching the virus should stay home.
Before the bash, authorities issued a warning ahead of the party telling people ‘Covid 19 numbers are increasing in our area.’
‘This event has the potential to expose everyone to the virus,’ The Fon du Lac Park District Police Department wrote on Facebook. ‘Please use common sense and social distancing.’
‘We try to have people voluntarily social distance,’ Director of Fon Du Lac Park District Mike Johnson told WMBD, ‘but at the end of the day, the goal is to get through this event and get everyone home safe.
‘This isn’t a sanctioned event. We started having law enforcement present about five years ago because we will get a lot of fights on the beach,’ Johnson said. ‘It’s the perfect element for a problem, you’ve got beautiful weather, a lot of alcohol and anywhere from 600-1000 people.’
For those attending the event, it was clear that coronavirus was far from most people’s mind.
”I’m just ready to tear it down! I thought we were going fishing, but I guess we’re going there,’ said Daniel Murphy to CentralIllinoisProud.com. ‘It’s going be a good time hanging with friends, having a good time.’
Asked whether he was concerned about catching coronavirus, Murphy was clear: ‘Definitely not. Not at all.’
The state of Illinois has had more than 180,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus and suffered more than 7,5000 deaths according to the latest figures from the Illinois Department of Public Health.