Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta Still May Alter Covid-19 Protocol

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — City officials say they have not ruled out requiring proof of vaccination at next month's Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

The annual hot air balloon festival is back after being canceled last year because of COVID-19.

City officials say they are watching how the New Mexico state fair plays out as they weight last-minute changes.

Mayor Tim Keller tells KOAT-TV that organizers are nevertheless ready for the 100,000 attendees expected to converge for the event, which starts Oct. 2. He says he is encouraged as the number of cases statewide appears to be plateauing.

Officials say there are ample safety measures in place. Sam Parks, festival director of operations, says masks and social distancing will be required. Tables and chairs will be cleaned constantly. Sanitation stations will be set up throughout the park.

Still, visitors should be prepared for changes even during the week-long event.