Railbird Festival returns with COVID-19 precautions in place

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Live music is making a comeback, as the annual Railbird Music Festival kicks off Saturday. But as COVID-19 cases rise, health experts are skeptical of large gatherings.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (FOX 56/WKYT) – Live music is making a comeback. The annual Railbird Festival kicks off Saturday.

However, as COVID-19 cases rise, health experts are skeptical of large gatherings.

“There’s a pretty decent risk, especially for those who are unvaccinated,” said emergency physician Dr. Ryan Stanton.

Dr. Stanton says luckily, an outdoor venue like the one Railbird uses helps. He recommends masking up and social distancing when possible.

“People just need to weigh the risks and benefits and make a decision for themselves, but you know absolutely if you have any symptoms whatsoever or are higher risk you need to absolutely stay home,” Dr. Stanton said.

In 2019, more than 30,000 people attended the festival. This year, organizers estimate 35,000 people a day.

There will be precautions. A negative test result or proof of vaccination is required. You’ll need photocopies or the actual copy. Anything digital won’t be accepted.

Still, Dr. Stanton warns tests can be deceiving.

“If it’s a positive test, it’s positive,” Dr. Stanton said. “If it’s a negative test and you have symptoms, just consider it that you likely do have COVID and take the appropriate steps for that.”

As preparation at Keeneland continues, organizers ensure they’re committed to safety and up to date on recommendations.

This is just the second time the festival will be held in Keeneland. It was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

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