COLUMBIA- One weekend in May will be extremely busy for the Columbia community.
Commencement for the University of Missouri graduates and the True/False Film Fest will fall within the same weekend, May 5 through 9. Large crowds are expected for both events, and the health department is working closely to ensure safety.
Public Information Specialist for Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services Sara Humm said organizers for both events had conversations with the health department.
Humm said that while MU is not within their jurisdiction, the University reached out and met with the health department for graduation planning. Organizers for the True/False Film Festival also reached out.
"We have a team dedicated at the health department to work with businesses and work with events and sporting events," Humm said. "We have a team who has been working with True/False to make sure they can understand what the rules are under the health order, and also make sure the event can be held safely."
True/False is expected to have 40% of in-person passes available, compared to a typical year. At maximum, 2,500-3,000 guests will be in attendance on any given day, but that number includes virtual attendees and the cinema and drive-in numbers. The number of actual in-person attendance will be closer to the lower end of 2,500.
Barbie Banks, Ragtag Film Society Co-Custodian, said they are following the health department's guidelines closely.
"We have to put together a full operational plan with the health department for every single little event that we're doing," Banks said. "While it might be a little tedious, it is very helpful to make sure that we're thinking through every single risk factor that could come into play."
Banks said the event will be outdoors, everyone will be fully masked, and individuals will be physically distant from one another while attending.
"We typically bring a whole bunch of people from around the world that are connected to the films, and we are not doing that this year, so we don't expect the same amount of traveling to be happening for the festival," Banks said. "We have worked with the hotels to make sure they are following and have operational health plans with the health department."
MU Commencement ceremonies are also planned to follow similar parameters, according to its website. Students can receive tickets to invite up to six visitors. Face coverings will be required, and attendees must be socially distanced.