AEG Presents, one of the world’s largest concert and event promoters, announced on Thursday that it will require proof of vaccination for entry into its owned and operated music venues and festivals. A negative COVID-19 test result by itself will not allow entry after Oct. 1.
It was not immediately clear how this mandate affected concertgoers 11 and younger, who are currently not able to get vaccinated.
On the same day, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to also require full vaccination for patrons at indoor entertainment venues, bars and restaurants, all events with more than 1,000 attendees, and more. The policy will apply to all patrons 12 and older, for whom a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be sufficient. The San Francisco mandate goes into affect on Aug. 20. This is in addition to the city’s mask mandate.
AEG’s decision was based on the surge of COVID-19 cases nationwide, largely attributed to the spread of the Delta variant of the 2019 coronavirus, which has been shown to be more contagious, affecting even people who have been vaccinated, and has shown to have worse symptoms in children.
The vaccination policy will go into effect on Oct. 1 and will be limited only in places were local or regional law supersedes it, the company announced in a news release. AEG chose that date to allow time for any eligible unvaccinated ticket-holders and staff to reach fully vaccinated status. Until that date, negative COVID-19 results from a test within 72 hours of the show will also be accepted.
“We have come to the conclusion that, as a market leader, it was up to us to take a real stand on vaccination status,” said Jay Marciano, COO of AEG and Chairman and CEO, of AEG Presents. “Just a few weeks ago, we were optimistic about where our business, and country, were heading. The Delta variant, combined with vaccine hesitancy, is pushing us in the wrong direction again. We realize that some people might look at this as a dramatic step, but it’s the right one. We also are aware that there might be some initial pushback, but I’m confident and hopeful that, at the end of the day, we will be on the right side of history and doing what’s best for artists, fans and live event workers.”
AEG Presents owns GoldenVoice, which runs venues like the Warfield in San Francisco and produces concerts at arenas like Oakland Arena in Oakland and Chase Center in San Francisco, as well as smaller shows. Nationwide, AEG runs New York’s Webster Hall and Brooklyn Steel, The Roxy and El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles, The Theatre at Resorts World Las Vegas, Firefly Music Festival, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Coachella Music & Arts Festival.
AEG Presents COO and attorney Shawn Trell added that the company understands that some artists will oppose the new policy, but that it was nonetheless the right decision.
“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,” Trell said in a news release. “And we’re confident that others who haven’t been ready to make this full commitment yet will follow our lead.”
The vaccination policy may be updated or repealed at a later time, according to AEG.
“We’ve already had to deliver bad news about JazzFest this week; I think everyone can agree that we don’t want concerts to go away again, and this is the best way to keep that from happening,” Marciano said.