Commune, the highly anticipated food festival due to take over the new Heights House Hotel in August, has announced plans to significantly cut its events in the face of a new surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant .
In a statement made available to the press on Tuesday, the festival noted that its organizers had been watching the surge in COVID cases in Texas and beyond and that it “cannot in good faith ask hundreds of cooks and thousands of” [people] to get on cars and planes ”to travel to Houston by August 21st when the festival was due to begin.
“Although we cannot predict where we will be as a state or even as a country by then, we know that we are not ready to play with the health of others,” the statement said. “We want to get this thing right.” As a result, the Commune festival will be fully postponed to March 2022, complete with 200+ chefs and the original line-up events that will include everything from private dinners to a Jewish deli pop-up.
In the meantime, however, the festival will host a greatly reduced series of events with 24 different chefs from August 26-29. All scheduled events will take place outdoors with limited seating. People who have already purchased tickets for the festival events can redeem them for the three-day festival called Commune Preview, keep them for the event on March 22nd, or request a refund.
Of course, that could all change again if the COVID-19 crisis persists. “When the tide rises again, we will make a decision that prioritizes the safety of staff, talent, guests and our larger community,” said the festival organizers. Commune isn’t the only festival affected by the pandemic – last week, Houston Pride organizers announced that this year’s event had been canceled due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases.
The news of the big changes in the community came when Harris County announced its 19th consecutive day of record hospital admissions. Currently, more than 5,000 people have died from the virus in Harris County, according to Harris County Public Health, and new cases continue to be confirmed in the county every day at a seriously alarming rate.