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What is your COVID-19 risk attending a dinner party, small bar, or even a wedding?

An event assessment tool helps you assess the risk you face in crowds of different sizes.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Organizers of the Mempho Music Festival announced proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test will be required to attend the festival in October. It's the latest large scale event requiring proof of vaccination. 

Organizer Chris Duncan said with the rising COVID cases, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend the concert just made sense.

"It lifts a little burden off us. It lifts a little burden off attendees who might be a little skeptical about such a large crowd," said Duncan.

If you are concerned about going to or planning an event, the COVID-19 Event Risk Assessment Planning Tool can help you determine the risk level of attending an event, given the size and location.

According to the tool, an event with 10 people, like a dinner party or going in a convenience store, is the lowest risk. The information is in real time. At the time we checked, in Shelby County, there was 14% risk that someone there would have COVID-19. That number dropped to 12% in Desoto County, Mississippi, and went up to 17% in Crittenden County, Arkansas.

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At an event size of 25, which would be like a classroom or small bar, the chances someone had COVID was 31% in Shelby County, 27% in Desoto County, and 38% in Crittenden County. 

At an event size of 50 people, which is like going to the supermarket or a house party, there was a 53% chance in Shelby County someone there will have COVID.

The larger the gathering, the higher your risk.

"Broadly, we can see that whenever the cases start increasing - that means at a large event you are more likely to come into contact with someone who has COVIS," said Mallory Harris.

Mallory Harris is a scientist who worked on the planning tool put together at Georgia Tech.

"What is important to know here is the tool is only telling us part of the equation, right. This is telling us the likelihood that at the event you are going to, you're going to come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID," said Harris. "There is the additional question of what is the likelihood you get COVID, and that is something beyond the scope of this project."

Harris said the answer to that question is more difficult and depends on things like how people are protecting themselves, are people vaccinated, is it outside, and are people social distanced. 

The tool showed when you get to a 500 person or more event, there is a greater than 99% chance in our region.

As for the Mempho Music Fest, organizers said the vaccination requirement is a step to keep the event alive.

"We understand it's not a full-proof plan, but it's the best and safest plan we can come up with at this point to continue our event and make it a safe place to listen to some music," said Harris.