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Delta variant, scammers highlight Lollapalooza concerns ahead of Thursday’s opening

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — The hordes of people expected to descend on Chicago’s Grant Park for the Lollapalooza music festival this week will be required to show proof that they’ve been vaccinated for COVID-19 or tested negative for the disease within the last three days.

The four-day festival starts Thursday and is expected to be back at full capacity, with roughly 100,000 daily attendees. After missing last summer because of the threat of the coronavirus, it will easily be Chicago’s largest gathering since the pandemic started, and one of the country’s.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and festival organizers believe the right precautions are in place despite a surging number of COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant.

“I would not feel comfortable moving ahead with Lollapalooza without COVID protocols in place,” commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health Dr. Allison Arwady said. “I don’t think I would feel comfortable if this were an indoor event, either. And I frankly don’t think I would feel comfortable if we were sitting in Louisiana right now, where cases are looking like they’re looking.”

Attendees must show proof of a vaccine or a negative COVID-19 test, taken within 72 hours of entry, and masks are encouraged. That means that anyone with a four-day pass who isn’t vaccinated will have to get tested twice. Furthermore, anyone who isn’t vaccinated will have to wear a mask.

Steve Bernas, who heads the BBB, is warning the scammers are like sharks, and they smell blood in the festival waters.

“We anticipate a double whammy this year, not only the tickets but also the vaccine cards,” Bernas said. “The scammers will be out in full force.”

Public health officials and others have raised concerns that such a large gathering, even outdoors, risks turning into a super-spreader event. Officials in the Netherlands were shocked after a much smaller music festival attended by 20,000 people over two days early this month led to nearly 1,000 cases of COVID-19, CNBC reported. That festival had similar safeguards to Lollapalooza’s.

Public transit agencies are reminding the public that masks are required to be worn on all buses and trains, while advising that physical distancing likely will not be possible when riding. CTA is also offering reduced rates for Lollapalooza, with a one-day ticket costing just $5, with a 3-day pass costing $15 and a week-long pass costing $20.

The Foo Fighters, Miley Cyrus and Tyler, The Creator are some of the acts who will be headlining.

NewsNation affiliate WGN and The Associated Press contributed to this report

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