City cancels all summer festivals including Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago due to coronavirus

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Chicago is canceling all summer athletic events, parades and festivals due to coronavirus concerns

By Mike Ewing, WGN

The City of Chicago is canceling “all permitted special events,” including Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, and other annual summer traditions through Labor Day, according to a release.

According to the city this includes all athletic events, parades and festivals — including neighborhood festivals — across the city.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot said called the decision to cancel the events “heartbreaking” Tuesday, saying large-scale events like Lollapalooza are unlikely to take place until there is a vaccine for COVID-19.

“Given what we know about how this disease spreads, which is close intimate contact extended over 10 minutes, realistically we will not be able to have those kind of large gatherings for some time,” Lightfoot said. “Bringing 100,000 people en masse in close quarters… downtown in Grant park every single day, we might as well light ourselves on fire.”

Other canceled events include:

  • Chicago SummerDance
  • Taste of Chicago
  • Lollapalooza
  • The Chicago Air and Water Show
  • Chicago Jazz Festival
  • The “majority of programming” at the Chicago Riverwalk, Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park
  • Maxwell Street Market (through Labor Day)
  • Jumping Jack Program

In a statement posted to social media, Lollapalooza said, “we understand why things can’t move forward as planned.”

“It’s difficult to imagine summer without our annual weekend together, sharing the undeniable energy generated when live music and our incredible community of fans unite,” the statement said.

Lollapalooza will instead be hosting a “virtual event” from July 30-August 2, including performances from around Chicago and beyond and archival footage from past festivals.

The City of Chicago previously cancelled its annual Memorial Day Parade and House Music, Gospel Music and Blues festivals. In lieu of its usual summer festivals, the city is planning a wide range of at-home dance parties, drive-in movies and virtual concerts.

Restrictions put in place by the state wouldn’t allow for gatherings of more than 10 people until each region in the “Restore Illinois” plan moves on to Phase 4, which would happen on June 26 at the earliest. Under Phase 4, events of 50 people or less are allowed.

Since each phase is on a 28-day cycle in Illinois, the earliest any region could move on to Phase 5, which allows for “large gatherings of all sizes” would be July 24.

But the state has said this won’t take place until either a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed, a treatment is readily available or there are no new cases. On top of that, the City of Chicago has its own standards for reopening as well.

This article originally appeared on WGN.

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