President Joe Biden indicated that he would like to see entertainment venues require proof of vaccination against COVID-19, but stopped short of making it a requirement. As live events have reopened amid the current surge in cases and hospitalizations, a patchwork of policies exists where some events and venues require little if any COVID safety standards, with others requiring proof of vaccination unless patrons are under the age where vaccination is currently approved (12 here in the United States).
“To those of you running large entertainment venues, from sports arenas to concert venues and movie theaters, please require folks to get vaccinated or show a negative test as a condition of entry,” said Biden in a speech broadcast from the White House this week.
Biden’s comments came as part of an announcement of an emergency regulation that would see businesses with 100 employees or more mandate vaccinations or weekly testing to help slow down the spread of COVID. An estimated 80 million Americans who are eligible have not gotten the vaccine.
“We’ve been patient, but our patience is wearing thin,” Biden said of the continued hesitancy of many to get vaccinated despite evidence showing that the overwhelming majority of serious cases, hospitalizations and deaths in recent months has involved those who have not been vaccinated. “This is not about freedom or personal choice, it is about protecting yourself and those around you.”
On the good side, comments this week from Live Nation President Joe Berchtold indicated that the desire to attend live shows seems to be strong whether or not vaccinations and negative testing is required for entry. Both Live Nation and AEG Presents have announced that they will be requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test at events they promote unless it is against the law, beginning this fall.
“We feel it’s our responsibility and part of what we need to do to make sure that everybody can gather safely,” he said in an appearance on CNBC’s Closing Bell Wednesday. Less than 1% of ticket holders for events requiring vaccination or a negative test are showing up without either. And when they have, it is often possible to sort it out without denying them entry.
“We’ve usually figured out some place nearby they can go and get a test and still get back and attend the festival or show.”