Music rooms are the source of vaccination mandates
New York’s term will begin running the week of August 16 with full application starting September 13 and Los Angeles is expected to vote on its term in the coming days, but many local governments are reluctant to take such a tough stance – or are totally against it. Twenty states in the United States have banned proof of vaccination requirements, according to Ballot, but that hasn’t stopped virus cases from rising 33.7% nationwide last week, by the CDC.
Independent concert halls were the first to take it upon themselves to require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test result in order for customers to attend shows. After more than 14 months of closures, reopens and roller coasters of state, local and federal guidelines, many of these site owners say they are done waiting for advice and are proactive in protecting their communities and businesses. .
Colorado’s Z2 Entertainment – which operates Boulder Theater, The Aggie and Fox Theater – announced Monday that all of their sites will require attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a negative test result within 72 hours of the performance. CEO of Z2 Entertainment Cheryl Liguori says the company took the weekend to make the decision and come up with language to educate the public.
“The measures were going in the wrong direction,” Ligouri said of the increase in COVID cases across the state. She adds that the decision was made primarily “to keep our staff, patrons and artists healthy and to keep live music flourishing.”
Ligouri fears that an increase in cases could lead to the reinstatement of social distancing mandates that would be “catastrophic” for his business. For a place like the 650- Fox Theater capacity, for example, under previous terms it could only accommodate 36 guests. For fans who are unwilling or unable to provide the required proof, Z2 Entertainment offers refunds, which Ligouri hopes will satisfy the “mix” of feedback the company has received since the announcement.
California promoter Another Planet Entertainment (APE) has also informed ticket holders that they will need to provide proof of complete inoculation (two weeks after their second dose of vaccine) or a negative test within 48 hours of entry. APE has partnered with Clear to speed up the verification process for participants and APE’s Deputy Managing Director Casey lowdermilk says their first week of shows saw less than 1% of unvaccinated clients who provided negative tests instead, and the rest were vaccinated.
“It’s reassured for everyone,” says Lowdermilk, “I don’t think that’s a stretch for a lot of clients. This is a very positive thing and should be well received in the future. “
APE sites in San Francisco County enjoy a 70% full vaccination rate locally, but site operators like Brian Greenberg in New Orleans have found it more difficult to announce vaccination requirements in less vaccinated areas. Louisiana’s vaccination rate for at least one dose falls below 45%, making it the fourth-lowest rate in the country according to the Mayo Clinic.
As Tipitina’s Managing Director, Greenberg says the response has been “overwhelmingly positive”, but “I’m not going to lie and say everyone loves it”. The majority of the criticism has come from people who do not live in the region, he adds.
“It seemed like an important step towards setting our own guidelines instead of letting the guidelines be set for us,” Greenberg said. “It shows local, municipal and state government that, ‘Hey, we want to control our own business. We don’t necessarily want you to have to make decisions for us.
Steven Severin, co-owner of Neumos in Seattle, says there was a major backlash from online trolls when his restaurant announced vaccination requirements, but not so much for the 650-seat venue. The majority of shows at Neumos continued to sell, he says, and the proof of inoculation made more patrons feel safe in the indoor venue.
“There are all these people who feel good to come to us because of [the new requirements]. People go, ‘Yeah! I’m going to go to Neumos now because people are going to get vaccinated. I feel a lot safer than before, ”Severin said. “I’m sure we get more people than we lose them. This is the talk I use with some business owners who are worried about losing money.
This week, Seattle reached more than 100 places and bars that now require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results. In Minneapolis, owner of First Avenue Dayna Franck proof of vaccination initiated or proof of negative results for staff, patrons and artists, as well as for the greater good of the national tour.
“We are a national industry. We all rely on every venue to do what they can to keep artists safe. Because if an artist gets COVID and the tour goes down, it affects our whole industry, ”says Frank, whose Minneapolis theaters opened for two weeks before starting the tenure there in response to the Delta variant.
This isn’t the first time the live music industry has had to adapt to security concerns, Frank adds, citing concerns about active shooters, terrorism and even drunken brawls. But these efforts can also encourage more people to get vaccinated, while hopefully keeping places open during the new wave of infections.
“I heard stories of five people who got vaccinated yesterday and of a young man who just wasn’t going to get the shot – he didn’t feel the urgency – until he read our policy and say, “Oh I got tickets for four shows in the fall‘ and made an appointment, ”says Frank. “If this can be the impetus to protect themselves and keep their family and community safe, I think it’s probably the best possible outcome.”