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Politics & Government

Big Events In Boise Continue Despite Hospital Crunch

Boise Mayor Lauren McClean is stopped on a bicycle wearing a mask and a helmet. Behind her is a sign at the Egyptian Theater that reads "Now Playing: Wear A Mask, Protect Your Neighbor."
Lauren McLean
via Facebook

Boise city officials will continue to permit large community gatherings amid a raging resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the city’s special events team say plans are moving ahead for Art in the Park, Boise Pride Fest and others this weekend. Final permitting is still in process.

Maria Weeg, director of Boise’s community engagement office, said the city is asking event organizers how they’re protecting attendees from COVID-19.

“We know that our residents love going to these events, so we’re just trying to find that balance,” Weeg said.

Boise Pride is requiring visitors to be vaccinated or test negative for the virus, as well as offering free testing on-site and in Meridian. Art in the Park is asking people to wear masks in crowded areas.

Mayor Lauren McLean cancelled special events earlier in the pandemic.

Weeg said top officials are constantly looking at the latest health data to make a similar call, but, “I don’t know what the exact tipping point is right now.”

As of Tuesday, the latest data available, just 9 ICU beds were available in Idaho and hospitalizations have surpassed last winter’s peak surge.

Ten healthcare systems in north and north central Idaho have implemented crisis standards of care for the first time in the state’s history.

Meanwhile, Boise State University reported a record high 127 cases last week.

President Marlene Tromp told the campus community in an email Sept. 1 that the staggering spread of the delta variant could cause classes to move online temporarily and shutter sporting events.

Still, university spokesperson Mike Sharp told Idaho Education News the school is planning for a capacity crowd at Albertons Stadium Friday when the Broncos play their first home football game of the season.

The stadium holds 36,387 people — all of whom, Sharp said, will be required to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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