LONDON, UK — The coronavirus pandemic has scuttled summer solstice celebrations at Stonehenge, a highlight of the year for thousands of British pagans, druids and assorted revelers.
English Heritage, which looks after the ancient stone circle, says restrictions on public events to slow the spread of the virus make it impossible to hold the event. It said it had decided to cancel the gathering “after much deliberation and in consultation with our partners in the police and the emergency services, the druid and pagan community and others.”
The organization added that it looks forward to "welcoming everyone again next year."
English Heritage says it will stream the sunrise online on the solstice, June 21.
Thousands of people usually gather to watch the sun rise behind the Neolithic monument in southwest England on the Northern Hemisphere’s longest day of the year.
Stonehenge, a World Heritage site, is believed to be 4,500 years old. It is known for its alignment with the movements of the sun.
The United Kingdom has more than 224,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University. The UK has had more than 32,000 deaths. Globally there are more than 4.1 million cases as of Tuesday morning and nearly 287,000 deaths.
The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.