COVID-19 Restrictions Tighten for Some Large Outdoor Events in Bay Area

BottleRock Napa music festival requires proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test

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As COVID-19 case rates continue to rise across the Bay Area, the rules are getting tighter again for large gatherings, and some health experts are warning against attending crowded events.

On the smaller end of the scale, families in Contra Costa County learned they will have to mask up even when they're outdoors if they're attending their children's outdoor sporting events.

On the larger end of the scale, organizers of the BottleRock Napa Valley music festival are requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of attending the mostly outdoor event, which takes place this weekend.

They’re also recommending masks in the outdoor spaces and requiring them indoors.

Meanwhile, health experts are warning people that they may want to think twice before attending large events during this latest surge, saying that even with the protocols in place, the delta variant makes any festival or large outdoor gathering risky, especially for people who are not vaccinated.

"Bottom line is that anybody who is not vaccinated should not be attending," said Dr. John Swartzberg, UC Berkeley professor for the School of Public Health. "They are a major risk to themselves, and they are a major risk to other people. If you are vaccinated, I personally would not go. … We know that people who are vaccinated, unfortunately, can transmit the virus. Most don’t, but some can, so if you’re not vaccinated at that event, that’s a major risk."

Here's a look at what's happening with other large outdoor gatherings:

  • Outside Lands, Oct. 29-31: Like BottleRock, the Golden Gate Park music festival will require proof of vaccination or a negative test to get in.
  • Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Oct. 1-3: The free San Francisco music festival that normally takes place in Golden Gate Park is going entirely online.
  • Giants baseball at Oracle Park: No vaccine card or test is needed to enter, and don’t expect people to be masked up, except when inside. Stadium concession workers will vote this weekend to possibly go on strike if they don’t get hazard pay for working in the riskier conditions.
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