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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

Despite Canceled Pride Parade, Pride Fest Will Go On As Planned And Add A Day

Howard Brown Health criticized Market Days organizers for a lack of COVID-19 precautions, but the organization said it supports extending the October festival.

Drag personality Miss Foozie at a previous Chicago Pride Fest.
Provided/Northalsted Business Alliance
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NORTHALSTED — Howard Brown Health, the LGBTQ health provider that previously called on Market Days organizers to implement stricter COVID protocols for the LGBTQ-friendly street festival, has signed off on the precautions in place for the upcoming Pride Fest.

The Northalsted Business Alliance announced last week that Pride Fest would return Oct. 1-3, extending the festival into that weekend’s Sunday after the Oct. 3 Pride Parade was canceled due to the pandemic.

Organizers from the Northalsted Business Alliance said they will follow the same playbook they did for Market Days, a neighborhood street festival held in August. Attendees will be encouraged to be fully vaccinated or wear a mask, while indoor establishments will require proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID test for entry.

David Ernesto Munar, president and CEO of Howard Brown, said he “applauds the Northalsted Business Alliance for working closely with [the Chicago Department of Public Health] on pandemic mitigation strategies” for the festival.

But prior to Market Days, Howard Brown warned that the organizers should implement stricter safety precautions — like capacity limits and mask requirements — or else cancel the event.

Market Days went on, following guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health, which did not require capacity limits, social distancing, outdoor masking and proof of vaccination.

Some coronavirus cases were linked to the festival, but Market Days organizers worked with the department to investigate and identify any cases.

“Following the same playbook will help ensure Pride Fest lowers the risk of COVID transmission for all its attendees,” Munar said.

Representatives for the Northalsted Business Alliance did not return requests for comment.

Jake Wittich is a Report for America corps member covering Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities across the city for Block Club Chicago.

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