Could Water Follies See 9K People as Opposed to 50-60K Plus?
Fortunately, the Tri-Cities Wate Follies organization believes they can stage the Columbia Cup; what it will look like is uncertain.
But shortly after it was believed the event would be torpedoed (again) a new announcement came, reading in part:
“Details are being ironed out, but the event will look a little different as we navigate how to comply with the State COVID guidelines” Kathy Powel, Event Director explained. “More than likely there will be more general admission and less private hospitality. We ask race fans to be patient as we gear up for the best weekend in the Tri-Cities.”
Event organizers all over the state have a swamp of restrictions, requirements and paperwork to wade through just to try to stage events under the state's COVID restrictions. Kudos to the Water Follies for pushing ahead.
Now many people are wondering how many spectators will be allowed. According to the state's current (as of May 24) data for Phase 3, no event may exceed 9,000 persons. Not sure how they came up with that figure, but that's what the state says.
It does have the revised information about allowing more than 25% capacity if vaccinated sections (Inslee's idea) are utilized. However, who determines what 25% capacity of Columbia Park or the Pasco shoreline is?
Apparently, the state didn't figure on that. When it comes to similar events, or county fairs, or other large outdoor venues that take up a lot of acreage, the state doesn't appear to have concise or intelligent 'guidance' for determining what they think is safe.
After looking through the state's mandates concerning outdoor events, we don't see anything that could be used to determine (for example) how many people would be allowed inside a 15-20 acre fairgrounds; or a stretch of riverfront shoreline that's a mile or two long and maybe 50-yards wide.
Some reports say initially the Water Follies races will allow the 9,000 figure. That would pale in comparison to previous years. In 2011 80,000 were expected. Even in years with extremely hot weather or bad weather it still draws well over 50K.
We will have to wait and see what the Water Follies are able to work out to ensure the most people can watch the events as possible.
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