Coachella is risking lives for entertainment

After a two-year hiatus, Coachella – one of the most popular arts and music festivals in the United States – will return this April and be held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, with a catch. There will be no COVID-19 safety guidelines.

Coachella is one of the most popular outdoor music festivals in the country and its organizers are facing criticisms for their carelessness and almost non-existent COVID safety guidelines.

As stated on the Coachella website under Health & Safety/Rules, there will be no proof of vaccination needed, testing stations on-site nor mask requirements at the 2022 revival of the music festival in accordance with local guidelines. 

However, the organizers added that conditions may change to reflect any safety requirement updates from the federal, state or local government.

Still, the lack of initial thorough health guidelines poses a concern as the sold-out festival is expecting 125,000 attendees per day flocking in from not just California but from out of the state and even overseas. 

Although one’s risk of COVID infection is lower when being outdoors compared to being indoors, it does not reduce that risk to zero. Omicron is currently the most prominent virus variant in the United States. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, the Omicron variant broke the country’s records for daily positive cases due to its high transmissibility compared to previous strains like Delta.

Despite being hosted outdoors, Coachella is still increasing infection probability by not checking people’s vaccinations or proof of negative tests.

Despite being hosted outdoors, Coachella is still increasing infection probability by not checking people’s vaccinations or proof of negative tests.

People could be reckless and go even if they know they have COVID but are asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic.

The California Department of Public Health strongly recommends a verification of fully vaccinated status or pre-entry negative COVID-19 test results for all attendees at large outdoor events with over 10,000 people, such as music festivals and sporting events.

As one of the most high profile festivals in the world, Coachella should do better at enforcing health rules and not set the still ongoing pandemic behind everyone, even just for a weekend or two.

By not even doing the bare minimum of checks, such as required testing or even mask wearing, the people in charge of Coachella are risking the lives of everyone in attendance and could lead to another surge of COVID cases.

Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the Campus Times Editorial Board.

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