Newark has canceled its Community Day festival for the second year in a row amid a COVID-19 spike at the University of Delaware.
The festival, which typically draws thousands of people to the UD Green, had been scheduled for Sept. 19.
"After careful consideration, and in consultation with UD staff, we have decided to cancel Community Day once again," Parks and Recreation Director Joe Spadafino said. "We are disappointed, but know the health of our community is more important and take seriously the safety of Newark families, University students, vendors, performers and staff."
The cancellation is due to a new UD policy that requires anyone attending an event on campus to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
“With multiple entry points, it would be impossible to ensure all attendees have met the requirements to participate,” Newark spokeswoman Jayme Gravell said.
The cancellation also comes as UD is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. On Wednesday, UD reported 105 new cases – its highest one-day total ever. So far this week, UD has seen 119 cases, which is already the worst week since early March. Thursday’s numbers are not yet available.
As of now, the city is still going ahead with the rest of its planned slate of fall events, including the Halloween parade, harvest festival, NewBark PawLooza, Turkey Trot and Thanksgiving breakfast. Those events are not on UD property, and thus would not be affected by the university’s vaccination policy.
“The reason why Community Day needed to be canceled was because of it was on university property, and there was no way that we could have complied with their procedures for entering their property,” Gravell said. “For now, we don't have any plans to cancel future events, but we just have to keep our eye on the numbers and the health of the community as we move forward."
UD’s policy could affect the Winterfest celebration, held on UD’s Academy Lawn in early December, but Gravell said it’s too early to say if it will be canceled.