Sea Festival parade, Source: Klaipeda Sea Festival

Klaipėda Sea Festival goes ahead despite spike in Covid infections

Klaipėda Sea Festival goes ahead despite spike in Covid infections

The Mayor asked unvaccinated visitors not to attend the annual event as the Lithuanian port city recorded the country’s highest infection rate

Klaipėda is going ahead with its Sea Festival, the city's biggest annual event (23-25 July), despite a rapid rise in Covid cases. This is a tantalizing decision, as Lithuania's third-largest city and only port on the Baltic coast has entered unawares the Red zone of morbidity, registering the highest infection rate in the country.

The fully vaccinated or recovered are welcome

According to National Public Health Centre (NVSC) data, the 14-day infection rate in Klaipėda on Tuesday was 108.7 new cases per 100,000 people, three times higher than the national average (34.3). Among them were 20 cases of the scary Delta variant.

Klaipėda Mayor Vytautas Grybliauskas has pointed out that it is too late now to cancel the festival which typically draws thousands of visitors. In a special address, he urged those who have not been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, or have not acquired immunity through recovery from the disease, to watch the Sea Festival from a safe distance - online.

“In Klaipeda, we will be waiting for those who are fully vaccinated and have full immunity. I am deeply convinced that we must not take away the feast from the protected... we cannot deprive of hope and opportunity the small and medium-sized businesses which have been foretasting this holiday like a breath of fresh air. I believe that we can organize this celebration in a safe environment, but each one of us must take the responsibility for this,” said the Mayor, as quoted by the municipal website.

Focus on safety

The organizers of the Sea Festival are taking special safety measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Two mobile vaccination centres will be set up on the festival grounds, encouraging attendees to get the jab. Audio recordings will be reminding people to keep a safe distance, disinfect their hands and wear a face mask. Volunteers on duty at the event venues will be doing the same.

There will be disinfection stations serviced by Sea Festival volunteers. Free disposable face masks will be handed out in the Klaipėda Festival tent, which will be located in Atgimimo Square.

All vendors will be required to wear face masks and disposable gloves and have a disinfectant at the point of sale. The temporary outdoor cafes in the Cruise Ship Terminal will be separated by protective fences to facilitate distribution of human flows. 

Outdoor events and management of human flows

All events will take place only outdoors. Concerts and other activities will be held at the same time in different city spaces so that human flows will be dispersed.

Also, during peak hours, before and after the concerts at the Cruise Ship Terminal, the swing bridge will be closed to avoid traffic jams. Passage will be possible only through Vastpilio St., where the flow of people will be regulated.

Participants in the festival parade will be vaccinated and tested for Covid-19, and will arrive for the event at different times to avoid congregation. The route of the procession was changed to University Alley near the central building of Klaipeda University.

You can find the full festival programme at the Sea Festival website. 

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