Reading Festival & Leeds Festival
[Photo via Pexels]

On Wednesday, Mar. 3, Mississippi officially joined Texas and is also lifting the state’s COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates. Currently, both states are allowing businesses to reopen at full capacity.

All of this means that concerts and festivals in these states can return at 100 percent capacity starting this month.

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As we near the one-year mark of the coronavirus pandemic, areas around the world are detailing their plans to ease out of restrictions. Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson revealed England’s plans to ease out of coronavirus lockdown. If all goes according to plan, the country could eliminate all restrictions by late June.

Following this announcement, quite a few music festivals have unveiled their plans for the 2021 event season. Reading & Leeds Festival is still happening this August. In fact, after England’s COVID-19 restriction plans were announced, Reading Festival completely sold out with Leeds Festival not too far behind. As well, Slam Dunk also confirmed its 2021 dates are being rescheduled for this fall.

Now, things are changing in the United States. For Texas and Mississippi, both states are eager to bring businesses and events back sooner rather than later. On Tuesday, Texas Governor Greg Abbott lifted the state’s mask mandate and confirmed all businesses can reopen at 100 percent capacity starting on Mar. 10. Abbott made the announcement despite health officials’ strong warnings against lifting restrictions.

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“Too many Texans have been sidelined from employment opportunities,” Abbott said. “Too many small business owners have struggled to pay their bills. This must end. It is now time to open Texas 100 percent.”

As of Wednesday, Mar. 3, Mississippi has also lifted restrictions. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves announced that all county mask mandates have been lifted and businesses can now reopen at 100 percent capacity.

“Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules. Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!”

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Of course, these lifted restrictions raise one question – is this all too soon? Although the United States is seeing a rather steady decline in COVID-19 cases, a large percent of the population is still waiting to be vaccinated.

In fact, President Biden recently announced that the country will have enough doses to vaccinate every U.S. adult by the end of May. Still, the pandemic is far from over in the United States. According to The New York Times, the country had over 50,000 new COVID-19 cases on Mar. 2 alone.

Back in January, Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted that concerts could return in the U.S. this fall depending on the rate of COVID-19 cases and vaccinations. However, Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino predicts that events may be able to resume even earlier than this.

Last week, Rapino revealed that large-scale concerts could come back as early as this summer. However, there are still a lot of factors to examine before states should consider bringing these large events back.

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Regardless of where states are at in lifting restrictions, plenty of U.S. festivals are still scheduled to happen in 2021. Louder Than LifeWelcome To Rockville and Inkcarceration are all scheduled to take place sometime this year. As well, Aftershock Festival is happening Oct. 7 – 10, 2021My Chemical Romance and Metallica are returning as this year’s headliners. As well, Machine Gun KellyRise AgainstParkway Drive and Rancid are also performing at the festival.

According to research collected by Live Nation, many individuals are hopeful concerts will return soon. In fact, 83 percent of concert-goers have held onto their concert tickets over the past year. As well, 64 percent of fans plan on attending even more concerts than before when they do return.

What are your reactions to Texas and Mississippi lifting mask mandates and reopening venues at full capacity? Let us know in the comments below.