(Photo: Winter Party Festival 2009)
Despite practicing stepped-up hygiene with hand sanitizer and a moratorium on hand-shaking, an attendee at Miami Beach's Winter Party Festival tested positive for COVID-19, according to an Instagram post from the event's organizer, the National LGBTQ Task Force.
Winter Party Festival, which has been running since 1994, kicked off on March 4, just three days before SXSW, the Austin, Texas arts festival, canceled the event altogether and other events like the White Party and the Dinah Shore Weekend in Palm Springs, Calif., announced postponements.
The Task Force’s Executive Director Rea Carey explained in the post that the attendee alerted the organization to the positive test result and that they had shown no symptoms while there and aren’t sure if they were exposed at the festival.
“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,” Carey wrote in the statement.
“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.”
"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," Carey continued. "The educational posters throughout WPF venues and 10,000 hand sanitizers we distributed over the weekend were both appreciated and utilized by attendees."
The festival unfolded at event spaces throughout Miami Beach, including Exchange Miami and Treehouse, and also at Wynwood and Wilton Manors in Broward County, according to the Miami Herald.
Carey closed the Winter Party statement encouraging anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 to reach out to her.
“Information and circumstances have changed rapidly since WPF,” according to the statement. “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.”