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Post-lockdown Nederland tailgate party delayed by COVID-19 spike

NEDERLAND — Keith Gebauer feels living within the socially distant times of COVID-19 has a way of turning adults into children.

“We’re all on lockdown, like little kids telling mama, ‘I’m bored,’” he said. “We all need to have a tailgate party, where you can actually separate from everybody like at the beach. You have a group of people, then you have a space, then another group of people.”

Gebauer’s idea is more than a fantasy. The topic was on this week’s Nederland City Council agenda, with action to consider closing Boston Avenue between 15th and 17th streets on Sunday (June 28) for the tailgate party.

Gebauer is dubbing the event, “The Post Lockdown and/or COVID Tailgate Party,” where everyone is welcome to come out, celebrate Nederland and visit friends and neighbors.

Alas, those plans are now on hold.

The City Council tabled the request at the suggestion of City Manager Chris Duque, who said the recent surge in confirmed cases of COVID-19 among local residents make hosting such a public event unwise.

“The first time (Gebauer) spoke to me and (Police) Chief (Gary) Porter, our positive numbers were flat and not going through a spike,” Duque said. “This past week happened and we’re not flat anymore.”

On June 18, various health departments in Jefferson County confirmed the number of total positive coronavirus cases at 23. On June 19, the number was 28.

One June 22, the number was 31 and the next day the number increased to 34.

As of Wednesday (June 24), the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nederland residents is 37.

There is also still the issue of getting test results from a recent Nederland mobile testing event that included 34 tests that have not been returned.

Duque said the city is still waiting to hear from the local health departments about those results.

Nederland is hosting a free, walk-up COVID-19 test site Monday (June 29) run by The Texas National Guard Mobile Test Team.

Professionals are testing individuals for the COVID-19 virus from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Heritage Festival Pavilion, 1523 Boston Avenue.

No registration is required, but those seeking testing need to have a driver’s license or state ID.

Gebauer, who said he helped successfully organize a Sensational 70s Reunion locally, is not frustrated by this most recent setback.

“We’re going to postpone it for at least a couple of weeks,” he said. “I’m hoping not until the fall but if it goes to the fall, we might have bands out there and more stuff, who knows?”

He envisions a tailgate, where everyone brings what they want to eat, including barbecue pits.

“Somewhere around 6 p.m. or so I would like to have everybody do a walking parade, of course spaced socially distant, and just kind of make a big circle around the deal and come right back to your particular vehicle,” Gebauer said. “That way everybody really sees everybody. The point is for everyone to actually come out and see each other again.”