Chicago prepares for Lollapalooza as COVID-19 cases rapidly rise

CHICAGO — Lollapalooza is slated to begin this coming Thursday, amid fears of rapidly rising COVID-19 cases both locally and nationwide.

Workers began setting up the extensive festival on Friday, with scaffolding and main stage assembly taking place in Grant Park.

Gates will open at 11 a.m. on Thursday, with bands playing until 10 p.m. across seven different stages. This year’s festival’s headliners include Miley Cyrus, Tyler the Creator, Post Malone and the Foo Fighters, marking the first large-scale event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the event’s last instance in 2019, there were an estimated 400,000 attendees.

This year, festivalgoers must bring printed proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours to be granted admission.

Masks are required for the unvaccinated with cashless concessions taking over at the festival this year. Attendees will activate their wristbands ahead of time for payment.

When it comes to the pandemic, daily cases have tripled in recent days with the Delta variant rapidly on the rise across the country.

City leaders and Governor JB Pritzker feel comfortable with the event taking place, but not everyone believes it’s a good idea.

“If you’re vaccinated, it’s safe for you to attend something like this. I intend to go to Lollapalooza, I’m bringing my wife and a few friends I think. People need to be aware we’re not past the pandemic,” Pritzker said.

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For Evanston resident Nick Taylor, hesitancy over the event’s safety remains.

“I think it’s a bit too early. I’m not a medical professional and I don’t think they’re quite happy about things. I’m against it personally,” Taylor said.

Street closures are now in place downtown, with Bablo Drive and Jackson Boulevard being closed from Columbus Drive to DuSable Lake Shore Drive through August 6.

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