As a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic washes over Ohio and the rest of the country thanks to the Delta variant, more and more local music venues are looking toward implementing safety measures to help cut down on transmission risk while continuing to embrace the return of live music.
The latest venues to join the coterie of Cincinnati spots requiring either a negative COVID or proof of vaccination for entry are Over-the-Rhine sister establishments the Woodward Theater and MOTR Pub.
On the venues' websites, a new caveat has been posted:
***REQUIRED FOR ENTRY***
Proof of vaccination or negative Covid-19 test performed within previous 72 hours prior to entry.
Hard copies, photo copies or digital photos of the above are acceptable.
Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine announced Aug. 16 that it would require all patrons, staff members, contractors and volunteers to wear masks indoors. The policy is effective immediately and applies regardless of vaccination status. Those within the venue will be required to wear masks at all times when not actively eating or drinking.
Venue representatives said that while there’s no vaccine requirement to enter Memorial Hall, some individual performers may require it for certain shows. Memorial Hall said that ticketholders who are not vaccinated can request refunds from the box office at least 24 hours before a show begins.
Music & Event Management, Inc. (MEMI) said that it would require vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests at all of its venues beginning Oct. 4.
“The policy is being enacted in an effort to safeguard the health of concertgoers, touring artists and employees, and to prevent another shutdown of live music, which devastated the business amidst the pandemic in 2020 thru May of 2021,” MEMI’s email said.
In October, MEMI’s venues — including Riverbend Music Center, PNC Pavilion, Andrew J Brady ICON Music Center, ICON Festival Stage at Smale Park and Taft Theatre — will require concertgoers to show their original COVID-19 vaccination card, a printed copy, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test no more than 48 hours prior to the show.
For shows before Oct. 4, performers will dictate individual safety precautions, MEMI said.
Nationwide promoter Live Nation recently said that it would require all concertgoers, performers and crew to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or to present proof of a recent negative diagnostic test within 72 hours of the start of a show. The policy begins Oct. 4 and will include Live Nation venues nationwide, including Bogart’s in Corryville.
Promoter AEG also recently announced that the new PromoWest Pavilion at OVATION in Newport would require proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test beginning with its first concert (by Kesha) on Aug. 29. Later, on Oct. 1, the venue will accept only proof of full vaccination, not recent COVID-19 tests.
“We need to continue to educate ourselves,” McCabe said at the time. “The landscape of live music changes daily. We participate regularly in webinars and Zoom meetings. We’re a member of the Greater Cincinnati Assembly Alliance. The National Independent Venues Association has offered, among other things, solace, but also a forum for everybody to get together and exchange best practices and ideas. Our position now is to keep our ears to the ground and study what operations in this new environment look like.”
And that new environment looks to be a blend of testing, vaccinations and masking.
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