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September Summerfest To Require Vaccination Or Negative COVID Test

Marti Mikkelson
People entering the Summerfest grounds in 2016.

As it stands now, the September version of Summerfest is still on. But the music festival, which was not held this July for the second year in a row, due to COVID-19, will ask the following of festival-goers:

Show proof of vaccination for the coronavirus with a valid card or copy of the card, or get a negative result for a COVID-19 test less than three days before attending an event.

Documentation can be digital.

The requirement also applies to a concert at the Summerfest grounds this Friday.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett praised the plan Tuesday, during a virtual news briefing with reporters.

"Summerfest made this decision based on science, upon looking at our current numbers and disease burden, and out of concern for participant safety and community safety. I commend Summerfest and its leadership in this area, and its willingness to do what is in the best interests not only of its patrons, but its community," Barrett said.

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Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett speaks to the news media.

As to those current COVID-19 numbers and the local disease burden, Barrett says the news this week is "not good." The disease transmission rate and the rate of positive tests are up, while vaccination levels remain stagnant in the low to mid 50 percentage range for Milwaukee adults.

Dr. Ben Weston of the Medical College of Wisconsin and Milwaukee County Emergency Management said local people are even beginning to die of COVID again.

"We're currently seeing in the county an average of 268 new cases per day and about two deaths per day. Now, of note, that's an increase in deaths. As we've seen in the past with waves of cases before, we're now beginning to see the fallout from cases and hospitalizations with an increase in death numbers are well," Weston said.

Weston said the bad news is statewide, and that Wisconsin is now fourth-worst over 14 days, in both cases as well as hospitalizations.

Given the bleak situation of late, Barrett was asked why not just cancel the September Summerfest?

He replied, "From my perspective, people are still looking at the numbers and I think we have to see what's going to happen over the next several weeks. It remains a very fluid situation and not in the right direction."

The first official Summerfest concert is scheduled for September 1.

Chuck Quirmbach joined WUWM in August 2018. He focuses his longform stories on health, innovation, science, technology, transportation, utilities and business.
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