Thousands of music lovers threw caution to the wind over the weekend in Florida for the Hella Mega Tour.
Posts on social media showed people crammed in like lemmings on Saturday at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, the same day Florida recorded 21,683 new cases of coronavirus, a record high in the ongoing pandemic.
Judging by photos of the raucous show at the venue, which can hold about 75,000 people, few attendees were wearing masks as they danced and sang to headliners Green Day, Fall Out Boy and Weezer. The tour was postponed last year due to the coronavirus.
In a statement to First Coast News, TIAA Bank Field said it was working “to ensure that all event protocols and operational procedures were carefully coordinated.”
“The safety of stadium guests is always a top priority, and as such, Hella Mega will be open in compliance with applicable state and city guidelines in addition to customized event protocols based on the needs of the artist to create a safe and fun environment for all guests,” it said. “Concert capacity has been determined by the wishes of each artist/tour.”
It should be noted, some people did prudently rethink their plans, according to News Jax 4, which reported Ticketmaster put up dozens of tickets for resale hours before the event.
The next day, on Sunday, Florida hospitalizations surged to nearly 10,000, numbers not seen since the pandemic began to peak last year and before vaccines were available.
That night, the tour rolled into Hard Rock Stadium (capacity: roughly 65,000) in Miami Gardens. Same deal: massive crowds, with no social distancing and few masks.
“Miami!” read the caption on Weezer’s Instagram page with a photo from behind the Hard Rock stage, the camera looking out onto a wild, boisterous scene. “Thank you for rocking out with us!”
According to the CDC, facial coverings may help slow the spread of even the most contagious delta variant. The CDC adds that, though rare, even the vaccinated can contract COVID-19, in what are being called breakthrough cases. Symptoms are often milder and hospitalizations rarely necessary.
“Experts continue to study how common these cases are,” says the federal agency.
According to its safety guidelines, the local stadium opened to full capacity a few weeks ago but social distancing and masks are “strongly encouraged, regardless of vaccination status.”
The Mega tour hits Citi Field in New York City on Wednesday.