“You’re going to be able to have a wedding in the way you want to have a wedding.”
Various officials have confirmed that, despite a very slight increase in cases over the last several days, by summer we should be heading back to some kind of normalcy. With vaccines being widely distributed and the test positivity rate recently falling to the lowest it has been since COVID-19 first hit Chicago, weddings, festivals, and the city’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade are all possible this summer.
In a live virtual Q&A held on Tuesday, Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, optimistically revealed that weddings will likely be able to go ahead this summer. Arwady said, “If you’re planning a 200 person wedding I think by this summer that would broadly be something that you would be able to do… Especially if you do it outside, that really decreases the risk for everybody.”
Earlier in the live Q&A, Arwady predicted that “by late April to early May, at least half of Chicagoans will have been able to get that first dose of vaccine, and that may be even faster.” This would consequently remove city concern about gatherings and large events if the majority of the City was vaccinated by summer. “In all of these gatherings as more and more people get vaccinated, if all of the adults are fully vaccinated we are not concerned about gatherings,” said Dr. Allison Arwady.
Meanwhile, organizers of Chicago’s annual LGBTQ Pride Parade have applied for a parade permit and announced that it could be held late summer, pushing it back a little to give more people the chance to receive a vaccine and the city extra time to recover. The Pride Parade and the festival are typically held separately on different dates in June commemorating the anniversary of the Stonewall Uprisings of 1969.
Coordinator of the 2021 parade Tim Frye announced that organizers were waiting for municipal guidance. After both parade and festival were canceled last year, they are “cautiously optimistic” of it going ahead in late summer. Though June isn’t completely off the cards, it is very unlikely, and sometime in August is being mooted as the realistic month events of such proportions can be organized safely.
If Chicago’s LGBTQ Pride Parade does happen this summer, it would be the first without Frye’s late husband, Richard Pfeiffer as the chief coordinator. Pfeiffer had coordinated Chicago’s LGBTQ Pride Parade since 1974 and had grown the parade from a few hundred participants to numbers in the hundreds of thousands.
The fate of Chicago’s 2021 festival season, in general, is difficult to predict but City officials have expressed hope that Chicago’s beloved summer events will be possible. Despite being optimistic, with the coronavirus not completely under control, Chicago has refrained from approving any permits as it waits for more clarity nearer summer.