With Arizona schools returning from spring break and resuming in-person classes in March, Engelthaler said, there will soon be more data to back re-entry decisions in the coming weeks.

Regarding increased field occupancy, Flagstaff Mayor Paul Deasy said he preferred to wait for more data before expanding occupancy beyond city staff recommendations. Deasy recommended Council should wait two weeks for the next scheduled discussion on COVID-19 to address the matter.

Just as eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine widens to include everyone 16 and older, we are getting promising news about the vaccine’s effectiveness on kids much young than that. 

For that upcoming meeting, Council agreed to consider implementing a COVID-19 occupancy calculator for outdoor events. Public commenter Art Babbott, who helps manage the Flagstaff Community Market, spoke in favor of such a system.

For example, allowing one occupant per 150 square feet of space would allow for about 400 people to attend an event at Wheeler Park, or about 75 people at Heritage Square. That is before accounting for space mitigated by event facilities, such as tents, however.

Addressing larger gatherings, such as outdoor soccer tournaments, Engelthaler said he thinks “it’s good to step into it, but maybe with a bit of caution at least for the next several months.”

One such event is Flagstaff’s annual Fourth of July Parade, which Engelthaler said should be able to commence safely by the time summer comes around. By then, he expects that every adult resident would already have had access to a vaccination and that the risk of an outdoor parade would be “exceedingly low.”