Is P-Town a super-spreader for the Delta variant? This image taken prior to the discovery of COVID-19 shows how many people flock to the small town for queer camaraderie. (Photo Credit: Facebook)

Provincetown, Massachusetts, a town with 3000 year-round residents, has been a haven for the LGBTQ community long before COVID-19 hit. Their annual festivals and parties are dominated by the gay male circuit scene, but have grown to include events like Womxn of Color Weekend, Bear Week and Carnival, all bringing in tens of thousands of visitors. Although guests are always welcome to this stretch of mainland, Provincetown became concerned that they would bring more than just their enthusiasm; they feared they would also bring new strains of the COVID-19 virus. 

The July 4 holiday weekend confirmed those fears. Thousands of guests poured into the town, participating in the legendary parties and activities without wearing any masks. Not long after, between July 3 and July 17, 469 Massachusetts residents were reported to have COVID-19 by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Over 75 percent of these individuals were fully vaccinated and, as per the state’s face mask restrictions, did not wear any coverings when engaging in the fun that Provincetown had to offer. 

Once the numbers broke, Provincetown natives started to speak up. Director and curator of the AMP Gallery, Debbie Nadolney, said that she and her partner were one of the first to demand that all patrons use face coverings and social distance whenever possible.

 “Provincetown is such a little place but obviously we’ve been a petri dish for the country,” Nadolney explained. 

Provincetown’s manager, Alex Morse, told CNN, “What we’re taking from here is that this Delta variant is highly transmissible, more contagious, more likely to have a breakthrough infection but it’s not likely you’re going to be hospitalized and you’re certainly not going to die.”

Despite saying that this variant is not necessarily lethal, Morse laments the 103 new cases of COVID-19 in the town, saying that the most efficient way to rid the LGBTQ sanctuary from the virus is by getting the vaccine. With local entrepreneurs and employees taking it upon themselves to create stricter mask and vaccine regulations, numbers are dropping.

Hotel owner Ken Horgan shares, “if you’re planning to travel and you’re not vaccinated, please, please don’t come to Provincetown. We really take our health seriously and for our local businesses to survive, we need to stay operational. And to stay operational, we need to stay healthy.”

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