Milwaukee County communities making festival plans

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WAUWATOSA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee County mayors are trying to move forward with their summer festival plans, but a lot still depends on the COVID situation across the county.

The organizers of the Highland Games cancelled their event in early summer in Wauwatosa's Hart Park.

But other communities are holding out hope more vaccines and fewer cases will let their summer festivals go on.

"The current suburban health guidance is no more than 50, so its hard for me to start talking about events," said South Milwaukee Mayor Erik Brooks.

He hopes the safety guidelines will change as we get closer to summer. That hope was expressed by many Milwaukee County communities.

"We're still not sure whether there's going to be a parade, we have one of the largest parades in this area," said Wauwatosa Mayor Dennis McBride about Independence Day festivities.

There is good news. Cases have been dropping and the North Shore Health Department said a program monitoring COVID in the sewer system backs up the numbers.

"They mirror what we see in our cases, so this is a case that disease transmission and disease spread is really going down," said Health Officer Anne Christiansen.

But the latest sticking point is how fast Milwaukee County residents can get vaccinated. 15.4 percent of people here have gotten the shot, which falls behind the state percentage and other counties.

"I think you're going to be very close in the next month or so, for a couple of reasons," said Wisconsin DHS Deputy Secretary Julie Willems Van Dijk.

The state says more vaccines are coming. Some communities say festivals are returning, but plans are far from solid right now.

"A lot of this remains a work in progress and vaccinating people as the rate comes down. I'd love to see a change, but I'm just trying to stay as fluid as possible," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

The state redistributes doses from counties with higher vaccine percentages to counties that need more.

The Milwaukee County mayors said they need a lot more vaccine to have solid plans in the coming months.

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