The recent rise in COVID case counts across the United States and especially in Louisiana have begun to take their toll on one of our state's most engaging aspects of life. That aspect is our Joire de Vivre and for many, we achieve that "joy of life" by attending festivals and fairs where live music is featured.

And because of the rising coronaviruses cases in the state slowly but surely events that have been planned, replanned, and rescheduled, are now being postponed or canceled, again. Such is the case of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival or Jazz Fest as most of us call it.

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Last week organizers of the rescheduled fall version of one of the state's largest tourist draws announced they would not be holding the event as planned. New Orleans and Company, believes the blame for the cancellation can be placed squarely on the shoulders of one segment of our state's population.

Kelly Schulz told the Louisiana Radio Network that events such as Jazz Fest wouldn't have to be canceled if more people in the state would opt for taking one of the three approved coronavirus vaccines.

It’s about who we are and our musicians and our artists and our food vendors, all of that is not going to happen this year primarily because part of our population has chosen not to get vaccinated

Schulz's organization books many conventions for New Orleans and the surrounding area and says that for the most part, those events are still going to go on as scheduled. But, more events might be booked if the state wasn't struggling with such a great deal of vaccine hesitancy.

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According to the website USAfacts.org Louisiana has received almost 4.6 million doses of coronavirus vaccine. 82% of the total vaccines received in the state have been used. It is currently estimated that only 37.56% of the state's eligible residents have opted in for a vaccine.

Hospitals across the state are currently inundated with COVID patients and the August 9th report from the Louisiana Department of Health showed the state's COVID case count had jumped by more than 16,000 over the weekend.

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State officials are well aware of just how much tourism means to our state's economy. The fear is that the longer Louisiana remains in the national spotlight as a COVID hot spot the more difficult it will be to recoup those tourism dollars.

However, officials in the state's tourism industry are hopeful that more and more Louisiana residents will look more closely at the vaccines. Vaccination rates in the state have been climbing over the past month.  Also, the FDA is expected to grant full approval for at least one of the jabs by Labor Day. That should ease the hesitancy of some individuals who are not confident in the vaccines right now.

Jazz Fest does plan to return to New Orleans in the Spring. The dates that have been posted for the event are April 29 through May 8, 2022.

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