Bay Area Easter celebrations adapting to COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Bay Area residents are adjusting their Easter celebrations amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. For the first time in its 97 year history, there will be no Easter Sunrise Service at the Mt. Davidson cross in San Francisco.

Since 1923, Mt. Davidson Landmark Park and Cross has been the home to the annual Easter Sunrise Service which brings together thousands of people for a non-denominational city-wide celebration. The first year brought in 5,000 people.

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In 1997, the Council of Armenian-American Organizations of Northern California (CAAONC) purchased the the Mt. Davidson Cross. The cross was rededicated as a memorial to the 1.5 million Armenians who perished during the 1915 to 1923 Armenian Genocide by the Turkish Ottoman Empire.

Chairman of the council, Sevag Kavranian, said the cross is important to the Armenian community as well as the local community that enjoy cross atop San Francisco's highest peak.

Kavranian said they illuminate the cross twice a year, once on Easter Eve, and the second on April 24th for remembrance of the Armenian Genocide.

"Something needed to happen for Easter, so I think illuminating the cross showing that there is still hope and light was pretty important to us," Kavranian said.



This year they decided to light the cross in blue to show appreciation for healthcare, frontline and essential workers putting their lives on the line.

"There are saviors. Without them I think that we would probably be a little lost as far as how we would survive ourselves," Kavranian said.

The cross will be illuminated until tomorrow morning, at sunrise.

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Earlier in the day ABC7 News caught San Francisco resident Catherine Magee picking up a small ham for her and her husband for Easter Sunday dinner. Magee said her family will have dinner together over Zoom.

"It will be distant but it will be nice being able to watch mass online and then tune into Bocelli is supposed to be singing from the Duomo in Milan. We're going to make a new Easter memory from this and look forward to next year when we can really celebrate Easter together," Magee said.

Jack Epstein, owner of Chocolate Covered in Noe Valley, is able to sell chocolate covered bunnies and other Easter related candy to customers.

"I'm fortunate enough that I can let people knock on the door and help people. Although I don't sell what I was selling before all of this craziness I'm selling enough so I can't complain," Epstein said.

"Last year on the Saturday before Easter I did about twice as much I'll be doing today," Epstein said. But he said he's making enough to get by on rent.

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