AUSTIN, Texas - The Austin Pride parade and street party set to take place Saturday will be delayed for an unknown amount of time.
Austin Pride organizers are the second to announce they are postponing events this week. Two Blues on the Green shows scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday were also delayed.
"I think, like a lot of event professionals that are doing events, they're looking, saying, 'Okay, can we go forward with this? If we're going forward with this event, what does our safety plan look like? Are we spacing out enough? Are we demanding masks?' Everybody's considering those things right now," said Tom Noonan, president and CEO of Visit Austin.
Organizers with Austin Pride and ACL Radio, who put on Blues on the Green, both pointed to increasing cases of COVID-19 when choosing to postpone their events.
"Blues on the Green has been around for 30 years. And it's a great event attended mostly by locals. So this isn't necessarily a large tourism event that's bringing lots of people in from out of town that are staying in hotel rooms," Noonan said.
ACL draws a much larger crowd, many from other parts of the country. It also has a bigger impact on the Austin economy. Whether the event goes on as planned, cuts attendance or goes virtual remains to be seen, but it’s a different conversation than it was in 2020.
"There's a certain part of our population that are completely vaccinated. Maybe they're not caring for children, or they're not caring for elderly, and they're gonna feel safe traveling because they're fully vaccinated," said Noonan.
A petition circulating online now demands the city cancel ACL for the safety of the Austin community.
People who live in the city have differing opinions.
"I have mixed feelings just because, on one hand, I want things to open back up and I miss different events that are happening, but, on the other, it is nerve-wracking knowing thousands of people will be congregating and it’s just tricky," said Lauren Patterson who said her biggest concerns is that hospital rooms are filling up.
"I feel a little bit worried about that because these days the pandemic is getting worse… And I hope the events can be postponed," said Yijing Huang, who was also concerned about hospital capacity in Austin.
Zilker Park is owned by the City of Austin, meaning the city does have a say over whether ACL can hold the festival there. The Mayor’s office said there are no updates about whether the event will be impacted at this time.
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