Fest Season has been canceled now that the Ohio Department of Health has said that groups of people greater than 50 cannot assemble.
Athens will not permit fests to take place as long as the health director’s order remains in effect, according to a message from Mayor Steve Patterson Athens City-County Health Commissioner James Gaskell and OU President Duane Nellis.
Fest Season, Ohio University’s annual spring party season, was set to begin the weekend following spring break.
Some students also apparently wanted an impromptu-fest, dubbed CoronaFest and created a GroupMe chat with over 2,000 members.
If people don’t abide by the health director’s order, they could face charges of misconduct at an emergency, failure to disperse and rioting, according to the message. On top of this, people could also be suspended or dismissed from any Ohio state university and financial aid could be lost.
“We strongly discourage any attempt to organize “fests” while the Health Director’s order remains in effect,” the letter read.
Ohio has 50 confirmed cases of coronavirus as of Monday evening, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
Brick Life Entertainment, a promotion party group, pulled out of both CoronaFest and MillFest before it was announced by the city and university that fests would not be permitted.
Caity Stegmaier, a senior studying music production and a DJ with Brick Life, said it was a difficult decision to make.
Brick Life decided to pull out to guard its name, Stegmaier said. Though heavily involved in the party scene, Brick Life does not have total control in situations like these.
Stegmaier said Brick Life was concerned over student safety, both in protection from the coronavirus and in partying itself.
Stegmaier said other fests may be possible down the road, pending the state of the pandemic at later times.
Like many other students set to graduate this May, Zachary Logsdon, a fifth-year studying meteorology, faces uncertainty in his graduation ceremony.
“(It) sorta sucks,” Logsdon said. “I'm a first-generation college student, so (commencement) takes on a bigger meaning for me.”
Logsdon, who works at a bar, is also out of work since it was ordered for bars and restaurants to close.
Saying goodbye as a senior has been the hardest part of this, he said.
“We don't really get to have that formal send-off,” Lodgson said.