Addressing COVID-19 concerns as Arts City Festival kicks off

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 7:12 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 17, 2021 at 7:36 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - It’s a busy weekend for our area. Crowds of people out Friday afternoon at the Arts City Festival downtown. The crowds cause concern for our local doctors who say we’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to the fight against COVID-19.

An infectious disease specialist says that it’s still possible to catch COVID outside but your chances are lower because of better ventilation. Still, the CDC recommends you consider wearing a mask if you’re in a large crowd.

Arts in the Heart is back and so are the vendors.

“When I’m cooking, the smell go around and people say mmmmmmm what is that smell?” said Pongsri Bee, Arts in the Heart vendor.

Bee is bringing Laotian food to the festival. She runs one of ten international food tents there. After not having this event last year she’s glad to be back.

“So exciting to come back this year, very exciting,” she said.

The event is not as big as normal but there are still about eighty artists there. So if you come to this event, what is your risk?

“Hard to quantify the risk. A lot of it depends on how many folks in the crowd have been vaccinated,” said Dr. Rodger MacArthur, Infectious Disease Specialist, Medical College of Georgia.

MacArthur says there’s not as much spread outside because ventilation is better. He would feel safe going because he’s fully vaccinated.

“I would feel comfortable personally. The guidance from the CDC though is to be careful in these larger events, especially if you’re sitting or standing close to others. Even if you’re vaccinated,” he said.

The CDC says you should consider wearing a mask. Even if you’re outside spread can still happen if you come into close contact with people.

“Come to try our food okay?” said Bee.

But no matter how many people show up this year, Bee is just thankful to be back.

Crowds are out, food venders are set up, and around 80 artists are ready for the festival happening all weekend.

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