As vaccinations continue to be distributed, events like concerts and festivals in Tampa are making a return this summer. While normalcy is being sought out by those tired of quarantining, large events like concerts and parades should be postponed until more people are fully vaccinated.
This past weekend, over 60,000 people attended Tampa Pride on May 22, according to its event website. The Tampa Pride parade was the first pride festival held in the U.S. since the pandemic, a clear sign the coordinators were jumping the gun compared to other celebrations. This event could have easily been virtually held or postponed, even by a month, like many other cities did.
St. Petersburg put its pride festival on pause until a month from now, on June 26, giving attendees more time to get fully vaccinated. In addition, it’s requiring masks rather than just recommending them, like Tampa Pride did. The event is enforcing a “no mask, no entry” rule, according to St. Pete Pride’s website.
St. Pete Pride made the right move. Florida isn’t ready for large events to continue the way they did in pre-COVID-19 times. In Florida, as of May 25, nearly 40% of adults have been fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data. Only a month prior, on April 25, Florida had exactly 27% of adults fully vaccinated.
With the percentage rising by 13% in one month alone, it could be expected that the amount of adults fully vaccinated would far surpass 50% by the time summer break is over in mid-August, especially because we won’t be running out of vaccines anytime soon.
“By the end of July, we’ll have over 600 million doses — enough to vaccinate every single American,” President Joe Biden said Feb. 16 in an interview with CNN.
If the U.S. stays on track with Biden’s plan and vaccine availability continues, large concerts and festivals would be much safer and more practical to hold by the time August rolls around.
This would be a more appropriate time to hold large events like Tampa Pride and the Sunset Music Festival, which both attract thousands of people who will gather and party, possibly without masks or two vaccine doses.
The Sunset Music Festival is one the largest events that Tampa Bay provides, predicted to attract over 50,000 people this year, according to the festival’s website. The event is scheduled for May 29-30.
With the virus being most commonly transmitted through droplets or aerosols, concerts and dance festivals are events that make for high chances of infection. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention claims that tiny aerosol particles carry the virus into the air from someone’s nose or mouth. Anyone within 6 feet of that person can breathe it in, possibly resulting in infection if they’re carrying COVID-19.
In an event where over 50,000 attendees gather around to sing and dance in groups, it’s unlikely that any social distancing will be taking place.
We’re all anticipating the return of pre-COVID-19 normalcy, but to do it properly, Tampa, including the rest of the country, must be patient. Such large-scale events with thousands of people should be postponed until at least half of the state has been fully vaccinated, resulting in a much safer environment for Florida’s partiers.