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How Did Tragic Astroworld Festival Avoid Houston Dems’ Rigid Mask Mandates?

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As the death toll from a “crowd surge” at rapper Travis Scott’s concert in Houston on Nov. 5 continues to rise, it is worth asking why a superspreader festival–canceled in 2020 because of concerns about the spread of COVID-19–was permitted to take place in a county that requires both public and private school students to wear masks, and that is currently suing Texas’s Republican Gov. Greg Abbott over his opposition to mask and vaccine mandates.

Following “communication with local health and safety officials,” concertgoers attending the third annual Astroworld Festival at NRG Park were required by Astroworld’s COVID-19 Policy to present either “a printed copy of a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of a full vaccination” prior to entry.

The policy is specific enough to define “fully vaccinated,” but punts on the issue of masking, telling patrons that “information related to masks will be released closer to the festival dates.”

Pictures and video from the day make it clear that masks were not required at Astroworld, in the same Harris County whose Local Health Authority has issued a mandate “implementing the use of facemasks on all public and non-religious private schools to protect the health of students and their families.”

Furthermore, in an article questioning Astroworld’s implementation of its medical and security plans, the Los Angeles Times reported that while the concert was “permitted for 50,000” patrons, “others were caught climbing the fences to gain illicit entry during the day”—no doubt with negative COVID tests and vaccine passports stuffed in their back pockets.

By the Left’s logic, however, that might potentially turn the already tragic loss of life into an apocalypse of epic proportions if even a few unvaxxed interlopers were to have broken through in the tightly-packed surroundings.

But it seems the city’s political wheels may have been greased in order to facilitate the festival of a famous rap star.

KPRC News reported that on Nov. 3—two days before the concert—Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo—a leading proponent of the authoritarian mask mandates and possible Democrat challenger in next year’s gubernatorial race—“lowered the county’s COVID-19 Threat Level Indicator from Level 1: Red, the system’s highest threat level, to Level 2: Orange, the system’s second-highest threat level, due to a decrease in COVID-19 cases.”

Nonetheless, Level 2 is still considered Significant, according to the Harris County / City of Houston COVID-19 Data Hub.

“At this level, unvaccinated people should minimize contact with others, avoid any medium or large gatherings, and only visit permissible businesses that follow public health guidance,” it says. “Unvaccinated individuals should continue to mask, physical distance, and avoid all gatherings.”

Surely a music festival with 50,000 attendees qualifies as a “medium or large gathering.”

Why was the concert allowed to take place?

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