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Austin Pride parade and street party postponed amid COVID-19 delta variant rise

Michael Barnes
Austin American-Statesman
Amara Johnson, right, carries a pride flag during the Austin Pride Parade in 2017.

The Austin Gay and Lesbian Pride Foundation has postponed the 2021 parade and street party, previously scheduled for Aug. 14, because of the rapid rise of cases of the delta variant of COVID-19.

“Pride organizations across the nation are suffering the same heavy blows," said Micah Andress, president of the nonprofit that stages the annual parade and after-party. "But we are determined to stand strong. ... Pride is too important to allow ourselves to be defeated. If we come together as a community, we can find a way to thrive.”

Like other LGBTQ groups around the country, members of the Austin nonprofit have called up some of the community resources and resilience that got them through the worst of the AIDS crisis.

Although the Pride parade was canceled in 2020, the foundation estimates that more than 400,000 people attended Pride events in 2019.

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As late as Tuesday afternoon, Andress was still confident that the events would move forward.

"We are encouraging masking and people getting vaccinated," he told the American-Statesman then. "We are also enforcing social distancing between groups. We will have masks and tons of hand sanitizer stations available. Our COVID-19 safety plans have met the city’s standard set."

On Wednesday afternoon, as hospitals filled with COVID-19 patients, the tide turned.

“It is with an unimaginably heavy heart that we have to announce our parade and street party, scheduled for this Saturday, are postponed for an indeterminate time," the foundation leaders said in a statement. “There is only one way out of this and that is together. Please, #getvaccinated, #maskup, #socialdistance until we get this in check again. The virus may have won another battle, but it will not win this war."

Updates on pride events will be posted at austinpride.org and austin360.com.