Proof of vaccination is becoming a norm across venues while musicians urge audiences to mask up in an attempt to save the live music industry from shutting down once again
The Delta variant of COVID-19 is striking back and is threatening shutdowns again across the country with cases in unvaccinated and vaccinated people climbing. In response to this surge of cases, the live entertainment industry is trying to combat the risk of shutting down again by implementing protective measures. Some venues require proof of vaccination to enter while others are asking for masks to be worn even by vaccinated individuals.
Many venues across the country have started implementing these measures including lots in New York State. With NYC requiring proof of vaccination to enter certain establishments which was announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio on August 3, 2021. The mandate will require proof of vaccination for indoor dining, gyms and performances areas in mid September across NYC. Since this announcement more and more establishments across the board are requiring vaccinations at their locations.
On August 11, 2021 All Capital One City Parks Foundation SummerStage in NYC announced that performances are now requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for attendance. This new policy begins on August 14, 2021 with masks being strongly recommended and being required upon entry to the venue.
As of August 13, 2020 the Blue Note New York also located in NYC will require proof of vaccination from all customers, staff and musicians who enter the venue. Proof of vaccination may include a physical card or digital photo of the card from the CDC, NYC Covid Safe App or the NYS Excelsior Pass. Children under 12, who cannot be vaccinated, must wear masks.
AEG Presents, which is the second-largest live events promoter, is now requiring proof of full COVID-19 vaccination for attendance to events at all of their upcoming venues and shows. Proof of vaccination will be required for staff as well. AEG will not accept just a negative COVID test for entry to upcoming events. Shawn Trell, COO and General Counsel explained in his statement saying “Certain states’ regulations may override our mandate, or a few artists may not want to immediately get on board with the plan, but we know that using our platform to take a strong position on vaccinations can make an impact. The message we want to send is simple and clear: the only way to be as safe as possible is to require everyone to be vaccinated. And we’re confident that others who haven’t been ready to make this full commitment yet will follow our lead.”
In places like Rochester venues are requiring vaccinations left and right with venues like Bug Jar and Abilene Bar and Lounge both requiring vaccination for entry. Abilene Bar and Lounge’s owner Danny Deutsch posted on the bar’s website saying, “Abilene is too small a space, both inside and out, to adequately provide for a “vacced” and “non vacced” section. That being said, we hope that you’ll take comfort in knowing that everyone around you has been vaccinated.” The Bug Jar had similar reasons for requiring vaccination proof for entry saying that most touring acts “are mandating Vaccination policies in an effort to keep fans, production staff, and artists safe and we support that decision” on their social media accounts.
Musicians have started to jump on the bandwagon as well with encouraging fans to wear masks and keep social distance at their performances. Some have even started requiring vaccination at their performances.
PVRIS announced on August 12, 2021 that they were now requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test to attend the rest of their current summer tour. They explained it was to help keep their fans safe saying they, “Also appreciate those who wear masks as a courtesy for those around them. And for us(them) as well.” The band had already required masks for meet and greets and has been strongly encouraging fans to wear masks at their performances. They sent out the message across their social media platforms urging fans to play it safe so they can hopefully finish their tour.
Live Nation announced that artists will have the option to decide whether to require fans to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. Singer-songwriter Jason Isbell announced he will be requiring vaccination or a negative test for entry to his upcoming shows because of this option. “They’re just getting so much pushback from some of the governors of certain states who want to kowtow to their political base and try to make people think their freedom is being encroached upon,” Isbell said during an appearance on MSNBC. “I’m all for freedom, but if you’re dead, you don’t have any freedoms at all.”
Dead & Company announced a proof of vaccination requirement at their upcoming 2021 tour, which kicks off next week in Raleigh, North Carolina. People are required to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test within 48 hours of the shows. The band has also gone a step further is safety guidelines for their upcoming tour detailing new protocols for the pit: GA ticket holders must show proof or else they’ll be relegated to a “non-pit” seating entry — even if they have a negative Covid test which will help ensure some social distancing from unvaccinated individuals.
It’s unclear if these measures will help save the live music industry from shutting down once again from COVID-19 but the measures being taken by venues and musicians to try to keep the industry afloat are commendable and appreciated by those who love live music.