Despite COVID surge, First Friday draws a crowd in downtown Raleigh

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Some came for the tunes and vendors on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh.

Others like 2-year-old Davies couldn't do much but think about his burger.

"I think this is something that will be with us for a while so we're going to have to learn how to live with it," said Davies' father Scott Roulston, who was out at Moore Square as a part of First Friday.

Both of Roulston's children are far too young to be vaccinated.

"We are generally pretty comfortable bringing him outdoors," Roulston said. "Obviously where things can get congested, that's where you want to maintain your distance but no problem being outside."



Infectious disease experts say outdoor settings like what was set up in downtown Raleigh on Friday night with outdoor tents and tables are generally safe.

Indoor settings are a different story.

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"If you really want to protect yourself and your loved ones, you wear a mask at a minimum and you avoid that situation," said Dr. David Weber, infectious diseases specialist at UNC Health. "We were beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and then Delta hit, and it feels like you're back eight months ago in a time warp."

Neither vaccinations nor masks were required at an indoor pop-up shop on East Martin Street which was a part of First Friday as well.

"Now that things are getting a little bit different again I think people are starting to stay home," said Mariela Ferriera, who sold some second-hand clothing and helped organize some of the vendors. "I think we got a little bit of the freedom we had before, and now it's gone away a little bit."

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The Roulstons will mask Davies up as soon as he doesn't go to rip it off, especially with him in daycare.

They said they are grateful to be out and about.

"Last year I feel like it was an adventure to leave our driveway. I feel like we were chained down a little bit," Roulston said.
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