San Jose police say public safety number one priority on Cinco de Mayo

Normally Cinco de Mayo brings cruising cars and Mexican flags on display throughout San Jose.

This year, the day commemorating Mexico's win at the Battle of Puebla also falls during a shelter-in-place order and presents unknowns for police in terms of how many people may venture out for the festivities.

"To be honest with you, right now with the shelter in place, every day is a Saturday. So to be frank with you, we don't really know what to expect," said San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia.

Chief Garcia said as many officers as in the past will be out, if not more this year, and ready for any crowds or traffic.

But he stressed his officers will not be issuing citations and going into large crowds like this one that gathered Sunday in the King and Story Roads area.

"You've got individuals being released out of jail for major-type crimes. To expect police officers to go into crowds and give citations and or make arrests based on the public safety order is not very credible. It's not going to happen," said Garcia.

Just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, officers were in the area of King and Story Roads in East San Jose to move people out of the parking lots in the area.

Cinco de Mayo 2020 has already been unlike others.

Three years ago, Olla Restaurant in downtown San Jose was packed with customers. This year, the restaurant remained closed.

"Life has changed. It's not the same anymore," said Albert Campoy, who was wearing a mask while doing deliveries for Chacho's restaurant in downtown San Jose.

Restaurants that did open, including Chacho's, expected a fraction of normal business.

Instead of $30,000 in sales, owner Jorge Sanchez will be happy if he reaches $2,000 this Cinco de Mayo.

"Most important is our safety, to make sure our loved ones our good. I've had several friends lose family members to coronavirus. You don't think it's real until it hits home but it's real," said Sanchez.

San Jose-based mariachi band, Mariachi Tapatio, is still performing but only half its musicians feel comfortable going out.

The group booked two Cinco de Mayo gigs, a fraction of its normal holiday bookings, including one to at a senior facility in Hayward where social distance is crucial.

"We don't want to expose anybody because we are entertainment, but we don't want to create more problems than already are. So we will stay back and perform that way. Luckily music carries," said band director Felipe Garcia.

San Jose's Police Chief says officers will be out and the number one priority will be public safety, not enforcing the health order.