Miami Winter Party Attendee Tests Positive for Coronavirus

An estimated 5,500 people showed up to the weeklong festival.

Although major events like SXSW and Coachella were canceled or postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Miami Winter Party went on as scheduled March 4–10.

An estimated 5,500 people partied at the weeklong festival, and at least one of them has now tested positive for COVID-19.

“I am writing to let you know that on Saturday night (the 14th), I was informed that one of our Winter Party Festival (WPF) guests has tested positive for COVID-19 this last week,” Rea Carey, executive director of the National LGBTQ Task Force—which produces the Winter Party—posted on the event’s official Instagram.

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Greetings Winter Party Guests, I am writing to let you know that on Saturday night (the 14th), I was informed that one of our Winter Party Festival (WPF) guests has tested positive for COVID-19 this last week. We are grateful to them for alerting us, particularly given that they were not experiencing symptoms during WPF. While we know there are many places people could have been exposed before and after Winter Party as this virus has developed, we wanted to make sure you have this information as soon as possible. The health and safety of anyone who participates in any Task Force event is of great importance to us. Information and circumstances have changed rapidly since WPF. We continue to encourage all WPF guests to monitor their health, practice social distancing, wash hands with soap, use hand sanitizer and contact their doctor if they think they are exhibiting symptoms. If you test positive for COVID-19, please contact those you were in direct contact with so they can take steps to monitor their health and speak with their doctors. More information from the CDC can be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html Given what we knew at the time about the virus prior to WPF and working with local Miami Beach officials, we took steps to ensure the safety of attendees. The educational posters throughout WPF venues and 10,000 hand sanitizers we distributed over the weekend were both appreciated and utilized by attendees. Again, please take care of yourselves and if you test positive for COVID-19 in the couple of weeks, please feel free to email me at rea@thetaskforce.org – Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force

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“While we know there are many places people could have been exposed before and after Winter Party as this virus has developed, we wanted to make sure you have this information as soon as possible,” Carey continued.

According to NBC Miami, educational posters were placed throughout the venue “while 10,000 hand sanitizers were handed out to partygoers.”

“Don’t go back to the dance floor all nasty. Who wants to ruin their vibe by getting sick?” read one of the posters. “Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities (don’t make us list them here), is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others.”

While letting partygoers know they might be at risk for developing COVID-19 is commendable, not everyone is impressed. Carey’s Instagram post was littered with comments from angry readers who were appalled that the Task Force went ahead with the event amid an international public health crisis.

“Are you surprised? Other major events were getting canceled, so you had to have known that canceling the event was the best thing to do but decided to carry forward anyway,” wrote one commenter. “Now you’ve put the very same communities you were founded to serve, in danger. Not a good look.”

Miami Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Sunday that all local bars and clubs are to close nightly by 11pm to help curb the spread of the virus.

I write about drag queens. Dolly Parton once ruffled my hair and said I was "just the cutest thing ever."
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