NewsHillsborough County


Organizers stress COVID-19 safety as they plan for large-scale events in Tampa

empty 7th Avenue Ybor City curfew
Posted at 4:21 PM, Apr 01, 2021

YBOR CITY, Fla. — After many organizations canceled events amid the pandemic, there's hope things can rebound back to normal this spring and summer. ABC Action News noticed four large-scale events submitted their plans to the city of Tampa.

One May weekend in Ybor City will be particularly busy if all goes according to plan.

"We are the first big parade to help kick that off," Carrie West with Tampa Pride said.

On Saturday, May 22, the Tampa Pride Parade and Festival expects an estimated 35,000 attendees. West says that's 40% fewer people than they're used to, but they're expecting people from all over.

"We have an awful lot of people coming in from Houston. [A] lot of people coming in from Atlanta," West said.

Then on Sunday, May 23, I Love Driving Slow's annual "Summer Vibes" car show will take over.

"People are coming to look at cars. People are coming to go to bars. People are coming to go to restaurants," Founder of I Love Driving Slow William Lewis said.

Lewis says he's expecting a lot fewer people than the Pride Parade, estimating about 5,000 attendees. It's more than a month out, but he's letting people know to bring your mask. He even pulled fan favorites from the last Summer Vibes.

"We're not doing any DJ, any type of thing like that this year. Like we're literally not playing around with that," Lewis said.

Lewis said they're looking to CDC and city guidelines. West says Tampa Pride worked hand in hand with the Florida Department of Health. They both said vaccines were a huge reason they felt more prepared to go forth with their plans.

"We're not out of the woods yet, but there are safe ways to open it up," Dr. Nishant Anand with Baycare Health said.

Dr. Anand says even if you're vaccinated, the COVID-19 protocols like mask-wearing and social distancing still apply.

"While more and more people are getting vaccinated, we still have a lot of individuals in the community who haven't been vaccinated. And because of that, we still have that potential to spread COVID to other individuals," Dr. Anand said.

On top of event permits, organizers had to submit a COVID-19 plan to the city on how they will keep attendees safe. Since these particular events require shutting down city streets, city leaders have the power to force organizers to postpone or cancel plans. That depends on the positivity rate.

According to Hillsborough County's COVID-19 dashboard, the rolling 14-day average has steadily increased since the beginning of March. At last check, it's just under 9%.