Be A Part Of The Solution: Vaccination Requirements

Insisting on verifiable vaccination status to attend concert events is becoming policy at an increasing number of nonprofit performing arts venues. One of the latest is the Walt Disney Concert Hall, owned and operated by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

While the decision to require patrons be fully vaccinated or show proof of a negative coronavirus test over a specific number of hours carries risk, it’s still the best decision groups can make. That assumes your venue is in a city or state that isn’t in the process of passing laws prohibiting these policies but even if you are, legal challenges and political push back will hopefully solve that problem before it lands on your desk.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are no shortage of details to consider such as children and those with genuine medical conditions that prevent them from receiving the vaccine.

In the case of the LA Philharmonic, they made sure to incorporate a refund/exchange policy (h/t and Tom Jacobs).

“The Philharmonic is accommodating unvaccinated patrons to a point. It announced that current ticket holders who are not fully vaccinated by the day of the concert can receive a credit to their account, or request a full refund for the cost of the tickets. ‘Subscribers who choose not to renew their tickets this season will have their seat locations retained and the opportunity to renew them for the 2022–2023 season,’ the announcement adds.”

What would make the solution even better is if we could all get a national vaccination status program in place that provides reliable proof of vaccination status and test results in an app-based platform, like New York State’s Excelsior Pass. It will make the chore of brining photo ID, print vaccination cards, etc. to a concert and for staff to sift through them like a 1980s era bank teller checking signature cards.

Given the resistance to digital vaccine passports among a quarter of states it may take some time but that shouldn’t get in the way of a platform being adopted by everyone else.

About Drew McManus

"I hear that every time you show up to work with an orchestra, people get fired." Those were the first words out of an executive's mouth after her board chair introduced us. That executive is now a dear colleague and friend but the day that consulting contract began with her orchestra, she was convinced I was a hatchet-man brought in by the board to clean house.

I understand where the trepidation comes from as a great deal of my consulting and technology provider work for arts organizations involves due diligence, separating fact from fiction, interpreting spin, as well as performance review and oversight. So yes, sometimes that work results in one or two individuals "aggressively embracing career change" but far more often than not, it reinforces and clarifies exactly what works and why.

In short, it doesn't matter if you know where all the bodies are buried if you can't keep your own clients out of the ground, and I'm fortunate enough to say that for more than 15 years, I've done exactly that for groups of all budget size from Qatar to Kathmandu.

For fun, I write a daily blog about the orchestra business, provide a platform for arts insiders to speak their mind, keep track of what people in this business get paid, help write a satirical cartoon about orchestra life, hack the arts, and love a good coffee drink.

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