CHICAGO (CBS) — The gates opened at one of Chicago’s biggest street festivals Friday afternoon.

Market Days is back after taking a COVID-19 break last year.

READ MORE: Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman Has 'Stepped Aside' Following Independent Probe Into 2010 Sexual Assault Claim Against Former Coach

CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek is taking a closer look at how they’re keeping people safe.

On Halsted, Market Days kicked off, about 100,000 people are expected to pack the half-mile stretch over the next three days.

There are COVID safety measures in place. There is a tent set up where people can get a free rapid test or a vaccine right after stepping into the festival.

CBS 2 spoke to a doctor who said the way to do summer festivals safely is by being vaccinated.

“If you want to end up not in the hospital and not in the ICU, go get vaccinated.”

Dr. Manu Jain is a professor of medicine in pulmonary and critical care at Northwestern. He said he expects to see the impact of Lollapalooza on COVID-19 markers in the next week or two.

If Chicago sees a substantial rise in cases or hospitalizations, Jain said the city may have to rethink its strategy in containing the virus.

“I think these decisions evolve. As the facts on the ground change, I think we have to be flexible enough in our thinking. We did that. We’re recommending masking indoors now. We weren’t recommending that a few weeks ago,” Jain said.

READ MORE: SWAT Teams On Scene For Hours As Man Barricades Himself In Lemont Township Home With Child

 

This week, two big street festivals – Hyde Park Fest and Little Italy Festa – pulled the plug on their 2021 events, in part because of the uptick in cases.

Pitchfork and Riot Fest are still selling tickets for next month’s concerts. A representative from Riot Fest said they’ll continue to follow guidance from the city, acknowledging plans could change as it gets closer. This weekend, several festivals are going on as scheduled – the largest, Market Days.

“We already stayed home. We’re now back out in public. People that are not vaccinated should make the choice right now to stay home because this variant is dangerous.”

Market Days is not requiring people to be vaccinated but chairman Mark Liberson said many of the bars on Northalsted are, including the three he owns.

“Really at this point, I think it’s appropriate,” Liberson said. “I think that having the bars united together, which is really what has occurred, to have the street be one that really says, ‘if you’re vaccinated, we want you to join us.'”

Dr. Jain said the majority of COVID-19 patients he’s seeing in the hospital right now are unvaccinated so he says vaccination is your ticket to stay out of the hospital and attend these summer festivals.

MORE NEWS: Data Show More Than 100 Carjackings In Austin Community This Year, Just 5 Not Far Away In Hermosa