Chapel Hill says no to Franklin Street celebration if UNC beats Duke on Saturday

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – The Town of Chapel Hill said there will not be a celebration on Franklin Street on Saturday if North Carolina defeats Duke.

The message follows the celebration that took place on Feb. 6 when the Tar Heels won in Durham 91-87.

Thousands rushed to Franklin Street to celebrate – which is a tradition in Chapel Hill.

But Gov. Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 restrictions call for outdoor gatherings to not top 50 people.

“Governor Roy Cooper’s COVID-19 crowd limits prohibit gatherings of more than 50 people outdoors due to the risk of spreading the coronavirus,” said Emergency Management Coordinator Kelly Drayton. “In fact, the Governor’s decision to stick to 50 people outdoors while loosening other restrictions should be a clear message about its importance. We must adhere to these public health guidelines to continue this important battle we’ve all been in for nearly a year.”

More than 300 students were identified as taking place in the Feb. 6 celebration. Those students could face disciplinary action from the University for not adhering to the school’s COVID-19 Community Standards.

Related: Dodging a bullet? No spike in COVID-19 cases in aftermath of Franklin Street celebration – yet

Chapel Hill said it has prepared for Saturday’s game and developed pre-game messaging, including safe ways to view the game and to celebrate a Carolina victory.

“Safely gathering downtown means keeping your distance and getting behind the mask. We will have staff present and will be prepared for the unexpected, but we are encouraging people to find different ways to celebrate,” the Town said.

Chapel Hill will not close roads in anticipation of a crowd forming.

“Franklin and Columbia streets are major thoroughfares, especially for ambulances and UNC Hospitals. It is important to keep those avenues open, especially during a public health emergency,” the town said.

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