Kansas City, Mo. - Around 60,000 fans are expected to attend the sold-out Garth Brooks concert at Arrowhead Stadium, despite serious concerns over the fast-spreading delta variant and the low vaccination rates in the Kansas City area, as well as throughout the surrounding Midwest region.
A Jackson County legislator is the latest in a growing chorus of local leaders and health officials who are expressing their concerns about the upcoming concert in Kansas City.
At a meeting on August, 2nd, Jackson County Legislator Ron Finley said, “I was sitting here thinking that, why don’t we just cancel the concert? We might save 10 (thousand) or 15,000 lives there, I don’t know,” according to Fox4 KC.
However, that was not Finely's only question at the meeting. In addition to whether the concert should proceed or be cancelled, he also asked about any health and safety precautions - like conducting temperature checks at the gates, as well as offering face masks or even COVID-19 tests that the Jackson County Health Department could provide to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 by concert goers.
Finley went on to say, “Clearly this is out of control. And I appreciate the cooperation of the staff and administration but we need to step up our efforts somehow it occurs to me if there’s any feasible legal way to do that.”
However, according to Fox4 KC, a Jackson County official confirmed that since Arrowhead Stadium falls within Kansas City's jurisdiction, any health measures would have to come from the city or its health department, not the county.
The Kansas City Chiefs announced that they plan to host a vaccination event at the Garth Brooks concert (but haven't released many details about it). Mayor Quinton Lucas did say that he expects those who are vaccinated at the concert will be entered into a raffle for a chance to win free seat upgrades.
Doctors from the University of Kansas Health System are also voicing their concerns about the concert.
Dr. Steve Stites, Chief Medical Officer at KU Health System, said, “Here’s my personal preference: If you’re in a really big public space like that, with a whole lot of people, I think I’m gonna wear a mask there,” according to Fox4 KC.
Stites did go on to say that one promising aspect of the event from a health and safety aspect is that it's an outdoor concert.
On August 4th, Arrowhead Stadium announced a new mask policy for concert goers:
All concert guests will be asked to wear a mask when entering or spending time inside enclosed public areas of the stadium, unless actively eating or drinking. These areas include the CommunityAmerica Club Level, the Ford Founder's Club, the Foolish Lounge, the Broadcast Lounge, the Signature Suite Lounge, the Locker Room Club and the Chiefs Pro Shop. Masks will be made available to concert guests who do not supply their own as they enter enclosed spaces of the stadium.
However, it's still unclear whether even the best health and safety precautions can stem the spread of COVID-19 at large gatherings with tens of thousands of people, especially given the fact that the delta variant spreads so easily.
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