NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - The bike group -- Get Up and Ride NOLA -- says it plans to hold off on any more group bike rides after big crowds showed up on Tuesday night.
These are the kinds of gatherings medical experts are warning against, especially leading into cold and flu season.
Magazine Street resident Frank Bump decided to leave the city for a little while and when he came back, this was greeting him on the street below.
“To come back to a parade seemed a little bit shocking or so. It seemed like over a mile-long parade which again was nice to see people doing that but it’s not really what we’re trying to do,” Bump said.
Get Up and Ride NOLA hosts the weekly bike ride, but Bump says he feels split after seeing the hundreds of riders it brought to Magazine Street. And he’s not the only one.
Pictures of the ride spread quickly and came on the heels of city leaders pledging to crack down on crowds like this.
“It went on for at least 15 minutes before I saw the police come up and kind of disperse the crowd of a little bit but not as aggressively as he would’ve hoped,” Bump said.
“We just have to stay diligent this is not over and let’s just be honest it’s not safe to do the things we used to do,” said Dr. Eric Griggs, health educator.
Griggs says though COVID numbers in Orleans Parish are good right now. People can’t get too comfortable, especially as we are at the beginning of cold and flu season.
“If you wanna talk about a drag imagine having the flu and having COVID-19 because there’s no rule of thumb law or nature that says you can only have one,” Griggs said.
“The virus doesn’t care if you’re walking riding your bike, on a plane, in a restaurant. It’s like I do not like green eggs and ham. You can get it anywhere, you can catch it on a plane, you can catch it in the rain, you can catch it on a bike, you can catch it anywhere you like,” Griggs said.
Get up and ride NOLA organizer, Blake Owens says they do try and enforce social distancing and mask wearing but says with so many people joining in on the rides, it’s hard to control the group’s popularity.
“As far as the critics, go keep the same energy for us as you do for the crowds on Bourbon Street or when they now let thousand people into the Superdome because the Saints are playing,” Owens said.
He says he sees why the large rides may be concerning and promises to suspend the weekly rides for a while. While at the same time asking folks to see the good they do for the city as well.
“This is some things we do to help keep the peace in the city and give people something to do maybe save a life or two,” Owens said.
Owens believes one of the reasons last night’s ride was so big is because the group recently celebrated its fifth-year anniversary, but again he’s pledging to suspend the rides for a little while.
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