Live entertainment is finally coming back!
While this is welcome news for concert-lovers, many are wondering what kind of documentation they’ll need to provide in order to attend. More specifically, people want to know if they’ll need to provide proof of vaccination—potentially in the form of a vaccine passport—to join the crowd at an upcoming show.
The answer to that question unfortunately isn’t black and white.
While many countries around the world are implementing vaccine passports to restart travel and live events, the U.S. federal government has made it clear this strategy won’t be implemented on a national level on American soil.
“The government is not now, nor will be, supporting a system that requires Americans to carry a credential,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in an April press conference. “Our interest is very simple from the federal government, which is that Americans’ privacy and rights should be protected, and so that these systems are not used against people unfairly.”
On a state level, vaccine passports are being handled differently, with some regions embracing them and others forbidding them from being used outright.
New York, for example, recently introduced a digital vaccine passport called the Excelsior Pass, a free smartphone app that enables users prove they’ve been vaccinated or that they’ve recently tested negative for COVID-19. Texas, Utah, Montana, and Florida on the other hand, have banned vaccine passports outright. Florida governor T.J. De Santis even referred to the widespread use of vaccine passports as “local and state government overreach.”
In other words, whether or not you’ll need a vaccine passport to attend a concert depends a lot on where you live. In some cases, it may also be left to the discretion of individual venues.
“We’re grateful to learn that there will not be a national mandated verification program; independent venues will be making their own individual policy decisions taking into account guidelines and recommendations from the CDC,” said National Independent Venue Association spokesperson Audrey Fix Schaefer in a statement to VICE. “That said, while vaccine verification is the hot topic, we have questions and concerns surrounding the effectiveness of only implementing verification at live events and not other business where people gather.”
Some theories have also suggested that ticket-sellers could require proof of vaccination at the point-of-sale, but major players such as Ticketmaster have said they do not plan to do so.
“We are not forcing anyone to do anything,” Ticketmaster said in a statement to BBC.
Long story short: if you’re planning on attending a concert, you should play close attention to both local rules, as well as those of the concert venue and ticket-seller. It’s not an ideal situation—but hey, it beats sitting at home watching virtual concerts in your underwear!