With ongoing pandemic, COVID-19 vaccine, how safe is it to go to outdoor events? Local expert weighs in

CONCERT, Town Point Park, Downtown Norfolk
Posted at 4:06 PM, Apr 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-19 16:12:16-04

NORFOLK, Va. -- The stage lay dormant Monday afternoon at Town Point Park for the "Thank Goodness We’re Open" concert series. It is a concert series Collette Hillard said she is looking forward to as she walked her dog next to the venue.

"I think we’re always looking for being outside around this time,” Hillard said.

She said she feels comfortable going because she has already received her first COVID-19 vaccine.

The concert series is hosted by the local non-profit organization Festevents.

“A lot of people aren’t comfortable being in restaurants and other entertainment facilities. This is their venue,” Hillard said.

But indoors or outdoors, or vaccinated or not vaccinated, Dr. Anthony Emekalam said, “This game is still anybody’s game, and we don’t want to turn back the progress that we’ve made."

Dr. Emekalam is a professor of clinical pharmacy and director of the Health Resources Center at Elizabeth City State University.

“Keep that in the back of your mind: If you are in outdoor spaces,” Dr. Emekalam explained, “transmission is still possible. We’re not completely out of the woods."

That’s why organizers such as Festevents made to sure to implement safety measures. Something visitors will notice at the venue are designated circles. Festevents said in a press release that visitors need to stay inside one of these circles during the shows. It is one way the organization is following COVID-19 guidelines.

The organization went on to say that it "will include capacity limits based on state and local COVID-19 guidelines. Attendance will be on a first-come, first-serve basis."

Festevents also urged people to wear face coverings and to stay home if anyone feels symptoms such as a fever.

Dr. Emekalam urged outdoor events planners to focus on following guidelines and that people get the vaccine. He said the COVID-19 vaccine has shown to be an effective tool to fight the pandemic.

“We are probably going to come out of this sooner than later,” Dr. Emekalam said, “and we can just go about and enjoy life as we know it."

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