The Crusader Newspaper Group

Lollapalooza cleanup begins in Grant Park

CHICAGO (WLS) — Lollapalooza has wrapped up and cleanup is underway as Mayor Lori Lightfoot defends the event and the COVID-19 protocols that were in place.

The big question remains, with 100,000 people here a day, will the four-day festival lead to another city shut down?

Monday morning, crews are clearing away the trash at Grant Park, but the real concern isn’t what was left behind, but what could lie ahead.

For four days, huge crowds flooded Lollapalooza, raising concerns the music festival could turn into a “super spreader.”

“It started on Thursday. The next couple of days you could potentially see cases. I think by next weekend we’re probably going to be having a good idea about how much transmission occurred because of Lollapalooza,” said Dr. Robert Citronberg with Advocate Aurora Health.

On Sunday, Mayor Lightfoot noted that millions of people have already attended events since the city fully reopened in June, including Cubs and Sox games and smaller festivals.

“We’ve been able to open but do it with care because of the vaccinations,” she said. “So I feel very good about what we’ve done. Obviously, we’ll know a little bit more in a week to 10 days. But we have to keep pushing the fact that the unvaccinated are the people that are at risk.”

Right now, Chicago is reporting an average of 206 new cases of COVID per day and most of those hospitalized are not vaccinated.

Despite the uptick, Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said there are no current plans to shut down the city again.

“We have no goal or current plans to close down Chicago again, but we need people, please, once again to step up,” Dr. Arwady said. “We’ve made it through this pandemic. Well, so far, especially when you compare what happened right at the beginning to after we were able to get a lot of these mitigations in place.”

The popular music festival quickly made last-minute changes to admission requirements as Chicago COVID cases continue to rise and as health officials aim to once again slow the spread of the virus amid the contagious delta variant.

County health officials announced Friday a new “universal masking” recommendation, prompting festival organizers to modify their COVID safety protocols.

Concert-goers were required to show proof of vaccination or a negative test in order to enter, but following the Friday announcement, organizers pivoted to also requiring masks be worn in any indoor spaces at Grant Park as of Saturday.

Back at Grant Park, Lollapalooza veteran, Parker Simonaitis, said he felt completely safe at the festival.

“They were checking vaccine cards, pretty cautiously,” Simonaitis said. “I felt good in the crowds. They were giving out masks right at the entrance. I feel like they did as safe as they could and I feel coming out as a vaccinated person pretty positive about what they were doing to protect us.”

Chicago officials said there were a total of 19 arrests and 102 hospital transports from this year’s festival. There were 31 arrests and 116 transports in 2019 and 12 arrests and 160 transported in 2017.

One of the final day headliners, DaBaby, was pulled from the lineup as of Sunday morning, according to event organizers.

In a Tweet, Lollapalooza organizers said “Lollapalooza was founded on diversity, inclusivity, respect, and love. With that in mind, DaBaby will no longer be performing at Grant Park tonight.”

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Street closures

-Balbo Drive from Columbus Drive to DuSable Lake Shore Drive will be closed through Friday, Aug. 6; Balbo closure continues to Michigan Avenue on Monday, July 26, 8 p.m. and remains closed through Monday, Aug. 2.

-Jackson Drive from Columbus to DuSable Lake Shore Drive is closed through Friday, Aug. 6; Jackson closure extended to Michigan Avenue on Monday, July 26 at 8 p.m. and remains closed through Monday, Aug. 2.

-Columbus from Monroe Street to Roosevelt Road will be closed Monday, July 26, 8 p.m. through Monday, Aug. 2; the closure on Columbus is extended to Randolph Street on Monday, July 26 at 8 p.m. and continues through Monday, Aug. 2. Additional northbound center lanes on Columbus from 13th Street to Roosevelt Road will be closed on Monday, July 26 at 8 p.m. and the closure continues through Aug. 2.

-Ida B. Wells/Circle is closed from Michigan to Columbus on Monday, July 26 at 8 p.m. and remains closed through Monday, Aug. 2.

-Monroe Street from Michigan to DuSable Lake Shore Drive is closed Wednesday, July 28 at 8 p.m. and remains closed through 6:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 2.

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