The city of Aurora has canceled all major events scheduled to take place over the summer as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The western suburb canceled all events slated to take place throughout the summer season, including the Fourth of July parade and fireworks display, Mayor Richard Irvin announced in a news conference Wednesday. Those events typically draw around 40,000 spectators, he said, making it nearly impossible to practice social distancing.
"Large-scale events would be ideal environments to spread the COVID-19 virus through our community," Irvin said. "So we, along with communities throughout the country, made the hard decisions to alter and cancel events."
"We know the importance of social distancing and making sure that no large gatherings commence to further spread this deadly virus in our communities," he continued. "It is with that knowledge using an abundance of caution and looking very logically at planning and finances that we'll extend the cancellation of large in-person events in Aurora. It will extend it throughout the rest of the summer."
The city announced in April that its Memorial Day parade would be canceled. The Aurora Pride Parade scheduled to take place in June and the city's Puerto Rican Heritage Parade and Festival at the end of July were also both previously canceled by event organizers, Irvin said.
The city's aquatics board also voted Tuesday night that pools in Aurora, the second-largest city in Illinois, would not open for the summer season either.
Aurora will operate its farmers market on Saturdays in the city's Water Street Square in the downtown area, with new restrictions and distancing measures in place, Irvin said. Farmers markets are allowed to continue as essential services like grocery stores under the state's stay-at-home order, however, Aurora's west side market will not be open this summer, Irvin said.
City officials were in the process of rescheduling any concerts or shows that were going to be held this summer with the artists, Aurora Civic Center Authority CEO Tim Rater said. The Civic Center Authority manages the Paramount Theatre and RiverEdge Park, which were slated to host performances from comedians like Frank Caliendo and Jay Leno, a capella group Straight No Chaser, and shows like Kinky Boots and STOMP this year. Rater said the venues have "nearly every artist" confirmed to perform on rescheduled dates next summer.
Aurora has seen a total of 1,845 cases of COVID-19, Irvin said Wednesday. The city saw its largest single-day spike in cases the day before, with 280 cases reported in 24 hours, he continued, adding that the jump can be attributed in part to increased testing capacity.
Irvin said a total of 38 Aurora residents, ranging in age from 35 to 100, had died of COVID-19 as of Wednesday.
Illinois remains under a stay-at-home order through the end of May, with no gatherings permitted except those deemed to be essential. State health officials reported Illinois' largest single-day spike in cases on Tuesday as well, announcing 4,014 new confirmed cases.
That number lifted Illinois' total number of cases to 83,021 infections statewide since the pandemic began. An additional 144 fatalities reported Tuesday brought the state's death toll to 3,601.