Atlanta Pride still plans park festival with eye on Delta variant

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A month after committing to return to Piedmont Park, Atlanta Pride Committee reiterated its plan to do just that. Pride still expects to host in-person events on Oct. 8-10, but with due caution in the face of skyrocketing cases of COVID-19.

“The last year has certainly been challenging,” Atlanta Pride Executive Director Jamie Fergerson said in a prepared statement. “We are confident that we will do everything in our power to create a safe and healthy environment for the 2021 festival.”

“If necessary, we will be ready to return to virtual programming [like the 2020 festival], but we know that our community is looking forward to an in-person event,” she continued. “As long as it is safe to do so, this is our plan.”

As Georgia broaches 7,000 new COVID diagnoses per day, Pride also renewed its commitment to all public health guidelines. Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms issued an executive order on July 27 requiring masks in all indoor spaces. She raised the limit on outdoor gatherings to 50,000 people on June 25.

Pride promised to keep a close eye on the coronavirus Delta variant as weeks go by, as cases increase and as guidelines change. The mayor’s latest order for indoor masks doesn’t change anything for Pride, Fergersen said.

“This executive order does not cancel our event,” she said. “We have and will continue to monitor updates to CDC guidelines as well as having an open line of communication with the mayor’s office around COVID-related mandates and executive orders.”

Flexible and in flux

Pride announced its first two headliners, Big Freedia and Todrick Hall, last month. Its original pledge to a live 2021 park festival came in April.

Atlanta Pride made the announcement amid a “significant uptick in inquiries” about the viability of the event. Pride respects the severity of the public health threat, according to the announcement.

“The bottom line is that we strongly encourage everyone, especially those who plan to come and enjoy the festival, to please get fully vaccinated now to mitigate exposure and possible spread at the festival,” Fergersen said.

“APC will update health and safety plans as guidance changes to remain in compliance with city ordinances and CDC guidelines,” she added. “Additional announcements will be made as needed.”

Atlanta Pride is scheduled for Oct. 9-10 in Piedmont Park.

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