Music Midtown to require vaccinations or negative virus test

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A pro-mask demonstrator, right, speaks with a non-mask demonstrator, left at the Cobb County School Board Headquarters during a pro mask wearing protest, Thursday, Aug. 12, 2021, in Marietta, Ga. Many school districts nationwide have seen parents protesting for and against masks. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

AP

One of the nation’s largest music festivals will require concertgoers to either be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have test results showing they are negative for the virus.

Music Midtown, the annual music festival held in Atlanta, announced the rules Wednesday.

And in Augusta, the city said it will pay residents $100 to get vaccinated as part of a new program called “Vax-Up Augusta” that was approved by a city committee Wednesday.

The festival is set for Sept. 18-19 in Piedmont Park. It features headliner acts that include Miley Cyrus, Maroon 5, the Jonas Brothers and 21 Savage.

The announcement comes as Georgia’s COVID-19 case count continues to rise, with the seven-day rolling average climbing above 5,600 on Wednesday. That’s the worst since Feb. 1.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is also rising rapidly, exceeding 3,800 on Wednesday.

The planned vaccination incentive, meanwhile, is in response to Augusta’s low vaccination rates and rapidly increasing COVID-19 case count, The Augusta Chronicle reported.

“We’re in this pandemic and you’ve got so many people dying and so many people walking around who haven’t been vaccinated,” Mayor Pro Tem Bobby Williams said.

State data puts Augusta’s vaccination rate at just 32{028e8b43b440f88d50a94b0ac799d5b93a220d942414697744f001bd74eb64d0} fully vaccinated.

The goal is to vaccinate up to 10,000 residents this year with the American Rescue Plan covering the cost, city Administrator Odie Donald II said. Rescue Plan funds also are intended to cover one-time $1,500 bonuses for public safety personnel and to increase the city minimum wage to $15 an hour this year, he said.

The measures must go before the full commission for final approval.

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