Charlotte Pride: traffic, weather, events, monkeypox, covid

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Charlotte Pride 2022

The Charlotte Observer cover before the Charlotte Pride Festival and Parade.

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More than 200,000 people are expected this weekend Charlotte Pride Partiesand organizers are bracing for large crowds and traffic jams in the city center.

Showers and thunderstorms are possible on Saturday and Sunday, but the event will go on “rain or shine”, organizers said at a press conference on Friday. Due to high attendance and traffic closures, they encourage attendees to use public transportation.

pride party events begin at noon Saturday. All events are free.

pride 2015
Charlotte Pride parade watchers line Tryon Street during the 2015 celebration. The festivities return to uptown this weekend for the first time since 2019. Robert Lahser Charlotte Observer file photo

In addition to traffic and weather, organizers addressed concerns about safety, monkeypox and COVID-19. Here’s what you need to know before attending:

Downtown Security

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officials aren’t aware of any specific Pride weekend threats, but downtown will have an increased police presence, Lt. Dondi Pogue said Friday.

“We want to make sure everyone can participate safely,” he said. “We will have a lot of officers here this weekend. You won’t be able to do too much legwork without seeing a policeman here.

Pride goers should use the buddy system and alert police or staff members if they see anything suspicious.

Monkeypox and COVID

This weekend’s Pride events are the first in-person since 2019, and organizers are taking precautions for two health crises this year: COVID-19 and monkeypox.

As of Thursday, North Carolina had 198 monkeypox case reported. While state health officials say nearly all cases of monkeypox have occurred in men who have sex with men, Pride organizers want to make it clear it’s not of a “gay disease”.

“Monkey pox is transmitted through close skin-to-skin contact. While it is true that most documented transmissions have occurred in the LGBTQ community, this viral infection can spread to anyone,” Charlotte Pride said in a statement. “Like all viruses, monkeypox knows no race, color, sexual orientation, sex or gender identity.”

Festival attendees can receive a monkeypox vaccine: approximately 2,000 doses will be administered by the Mecklenburg County Public Health.

Vaccines will be administered at the Hal Marshall Annex, 618 N. College St., Saturday and Sunday, county spokeswoman Suzette Nedrich said.

Mecklenburg County returned to a high risk level for COVID-19 this week, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Masks are not mandatory, but hand sanitizer and masks will be available at the festival.

Charlotte Traffic and Street Closures

Street closures in the city center began Friday morning and will create major traffic delays, organizers say.

Clark Simon, president of Charlotte Pride, encourages attendees to use public transportation this weekend.

The Charlotte area transit system expects no delays this weekend and encourages Pride attendees to use CATS Pass travel, a spokesperson told The Charlotte Observer.

Pride attendees should also follow CATS on Twitter (@CATSRideTransit) for any major travel updates, the spokesperson said.

A Charlotte FC game at 7 p.m. on Sunday will add to any lingering congestion.

Time

There is a chance of showers on Saturday, with thunderstorms possible after 3 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. The risk of thunderstorms is 40% in the evening.

More showers and thunderstorms are possible throughout the day on Sunday, according to the NWS. The Pride Parade is due to start at 1 p.m.

In the event of severe weather, event organizers say they have a plan and are coordinating with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Emergency Management. Organizers did not share details of that plan at a press conference on Friday.

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Kallie Cox covers public safety for The Charlotte Observer. They grew up in Springfield, Illinois and attended school at SIU Carbondale. They reported on police accountability and barriers to LGBTQ immigration for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. And, they previously worked at the Southern Illinoisan before moving to Charlotte.

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