SUNLAND PARK, New Mexico -- The annual Good Friday pilgrimage to the top of Mount Cristo Rey is being canceled for the second straight year.
Organizers said they once again made the decision to cancel because of coronavirus concerns given the expected number of attendees.
"With attendance in the thousands, social distancing and CDC guidelines would be hard to enforce," said a statement issued late Tuesday night by the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces and the Mounty Cristo Rey Restoration Committee.
The path up the mountain has been closed for months due to the pandemic.
Organizers said they would make an announcement once the mountain is reopened to the public.
The CDC says the safest way to celebrate the holiday weekend is virtually. The agency recommends postponing travel and celebrating only with those in your household. If you plan to gather with others, keep those gatherings outdoors.
While many are experiencing pandemic fatigue, local health experts say the end is in sight.
“People just have to realize we're almost there,” said Dr. Ogechika Alozie, a member of Texas' infectious disease preparedness task force. “The spring and summer are going to look very different than they do right now. And if people get vaccinated, people are protecting themselves. Six months from now, and not even that, by this summer, we're going to have a very different outlook.”