Return to concert venues could require proof of negative COVID test, vaccine receipt

The coronavirus pandemic has had a devastating effect on the entertainment industry. Now, one company has the framework in place to allow spectators to attend concerts and sporting events safely.

"2020 has been a devastating year for the music industry," Dave Brooks, senior director of Touring and Live Music for Billboard, said. "Venues can’t open, shows can’t happen, bands can’t go on tour."

However, Brooks said there may be some hope. That’s because Ticketmaster and Billboard announced a plan that could allow for a safe return to these venues.

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"Most concert professionals feel like they really can’t have a return to live music until there’s some type of inoculation or at least control over the virus," Brooks said.

The idea allows fans to prove they’re COVID-free before entering a venue. After purchasing a ticket, they simply use the Ticketmaster app to show the results of a recent coronavirus test or prove they received the vaccine, once it’s available.

"If you need to prove that you’re COVID-free, these companies will basically be your digital ID card to do that," Brooks said.

"There’s no such thing as a bad idea right now," said Michael Nowakowski, Ticket King’s president.

Nowakowski said, while he believes the logistics of the idea seem difficult, he’s all for it. But it’s success falls largely on the fans.

"What percent of fans next year with a vaccine or two years with a vaccine are still not going to feel comfortable going into packed stadiums?" Nowakowski questioned.

The plan is still in the development stage and needs approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It’s largely dependent on securing a third-party health organization, and a vaccine distribution provider. But industry leaders believe it’s imperative to be proactive during a time that’s so unpredictable.

"I think there’s a signal to fans that we have a solution and you can start thinking about coming back to concerts in a safe way," Brooks said.