Villages large and small across Illinois are looking to attract pent-up demand with outdoor events. And despite COVID-19, some are already announcing masks won’t be required.
Last week, Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson said the village’s Memorial Day event will go on with no social distancing requirement, but masks will be required. After that, he said events for the community of around 33,000 will go on without a mask mandate.
“If you feel uncomfortable, don’t come, you don’t have to be there,” Johnson said. “If you’re nervous, wear a mask. You’re more than welcome to do so, we’ll give you a mask. If you want to distance, there’s more than enough room at our concerts.”
On July 4, the village welcomes rock group Daughtry. On July 13, George Thorogood and The Destroyers will perform at the Village Green. Loverboy performs July 20 and The Beach Boys perform July 27.
Johnson said the Elk Grove Village will be firm, but flexible with their events.
“Obviously if something comes on June 15, some kind of virus from the moon came down that affected coronavirus, makes it deadly no matter if you have the vaccine or not, we would obviously change,” Johnson said. “We don’t think that’s going to happen, but we’re firm but flexible. But we are opening up.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health said they have guidance for outdoor events and festivals that local officials should reference.
“Face coverings and social distance continue to be a part of all guidance as we try and beat back another rise in cases,” a spokesperson for IDPH said.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s mask mandate expires in early June, unless he issues another emergency rule.
As of Monday, the CDC still recommends even fully vaccinated people avoid medium or large gatherings.
Just north of Springfield in Sherman, Village Mayor Trevor Clatfelter said the village of around 4,500 is also moving forward with events at the village’s pavilion, including a fireworks display on July 4.
“If anybody else is canceling their fireworks, just know that again, Independence Day, it’s going to happen again in Sherman and we’re going to celebrate it July 4th, the day of,” Clatfelter said.
In 2020, as other villages and fireworks displays across the state canceled their events, Clatfelter moved forward with a display. This year, in addition to fireworks, he said there will be live music.
On July 10, Clatfelter told WMAY that Sherman will host 84, a Van Halen tribute band and on July 30 a Def Leppard tribute band.
“We are going to be responsible and take various different measures to try and ensure that we’re all being responsible and trying to enjoy ourselves,” Clatfelter said. “It’s not going to be the wild west, but it’s also not going to be lockdown central either”
More than 63 percent of the state’s population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. More than 26 percent of state residents 16 and older have been fully vaccinated.