LEON COUNTY, Fla. (WTXL) — Low vaccination rates and rising COVID-19 cases are canceling events across Tallahassee.
Amber Tynan, Executive Director of United Partners For Human Services, said "we have to see a greater rate of vaccination in our community so events like this and others of this size can happen safely."
UPHS, the organizers of the Tallahassee Beer Fest, did not take the decision to postpone lightly. Working with their partner healthcare agencies that do daily COVID-19 testing and vaccinations, they knew this was the safest option. Tynan added, "it's those that are not vaccinated spreading it to those that are going back home to individuals who can't be vaccinated that are causing hospitalizations to increase."
Tynan understands that many are disappointed with the decision but are hopeful this will galvanize people into getting a shot. She said, "that will lead them and others within their networks and their circles to encourage vaccinations, because people are so eager to get back to events like this and to not be so isolated because of what we've seen due to COVID I think that we will see a light at the end of the tunnel within that time frame to which we can host this event safely...because this is such a fun and well sought out event people will take a second look at their decision and see if they will in fact get vaccinated."
TLH Beer Fest was originally scheduled for Aug. 28. In the coming weeks, organizers will be working with the venue (Donald L. Tucker Civic Center) to put more COVID-19 safety measures in place to limit exposure.
They plan to reschedule in the next 10 to 12 weeks, but canceling is not out of the question if vaccination rates don't get above 50 percent in their target age group attendees.
Another event getting postponed is the Girls Empowerment Summit. Their reasoning is because of rising cases from the delta variant and the lack of mask mandates in schools.
Lashawn Gordon, with the Tallahassee/Leon County Commission on the Status of Women and Girls, said their decision was based on "looking at the number of young people who were contracting the virus, breakthrough cases as well as those who are not eligible to be vaccinated, as well as the numbers continuing to increase." Gordon explained, "after much thought and consideration, we think we made the best decision to protect and support the girls of this community." The Girls Empowerment Summit is re-scheduled for some time in late winter or next spring.
For the Sundown Concert Series, the show must go on… citing that since it's an outdoor event, they can safely distance and take every precaution from the CDC and local health agencies.
Elizabeth Emmanuel, Chief Executive Officer of Tallahassee Downtown, said "at the core of all of this is a deep care and concern for our community, for their safety, and their comfort, so ensuring that we stay up to date with all the recommendations to keep our community safe is really what we're continuing to do, we appreciate everybody's flexibility and the care and concern our attendees show for each other." While the Sundown Concert Series will still happen through this fall, they have stricter safety protocols ready if CDC and local guidance changes in the future.
Organizers of the Tallahassee Beer Fest are working with their partners to host several vaccination clinics in the next three to four weeks. They're hoping turnout will be good so the event and others can happen. As for refunds they are available upon request, but they are encouraging people to keep their tickets until a new date is announced.