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LA Arts Venues Opt For Vaccination Requirements. What You Need To Know

An image of the Pantages Theater in Hollywood with a marquee sign for the musical Hamilton.
Hamilton is coming back to the Pantages Theater— if you're vaccinated or ready to show proof of a negative test.
(Robyn Beck
AFP via Getty Images)
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As the highly contagious COVID-19 Delta variant continues to spread, an increasing number of indoor arts venues are requiring their patrons to either get vaccinated or present a negative COVID-19 test for entry. The Los Angeles City Council is looking at more widespread vaccination requirements at businesses, including arts/entertainment venues. And some major entertainment companies are issuing vaccination requirements for their employees.

Vaccination Or Test — The Proof You Need To Show

So far, 72% of Los Angeles County residents have received at least one vaccine dose, according to the county, with 63% being fully vaccinated. But you’ll need to show proof at the venues below. The proof different venues will accept varies, but this could include:

If you aren’t vaccinated, or are and need to present a test anyway, how do you get one done quickly? While COVID-19 PCR tests may take a couple of days even after the lab receives them, rapid tests — while less reliable — can be completed at home. But you’ll need to see if the venue you want to visit has any limitations on the types of test results they will accept. (Find out more about COVID-19 tests in this article from the Mayo Clinic or at this page from CVS.)

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Many businesses have been wary to actually require vaccinations due to potential legal challenges, particularly before full FDA approval of the vaccines. But the requirement to show proof of vaccination or a negative test has been more appealing to many of these venues.

Venues Where You’ll Need To Be Vaccinated — And Where You Won’t

The Hollywood Pantages Theatre announced last week that proof of vaccination will be required for all their events, including Hamilton performances later this month. There is an exception in its guidelines for those under 12 or who have medical or religious reasons for not being vaccinated, but they still have to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of a show. Similar rules apply at the Staples Center.

The Hollywood Fringe Festival has previews starting Thursday for its shows, which officially kick off on Aug. 12 and run for the rest of the month. The festival includes small shows at venues throughout the Hollywood theater district, and while it wasn’t originally part of the plans, the Fringe Festival has shifted to requiring vaccinations or negative test results for all shows.

Standup comedy clubs have been among the first smaller venues to reopen. Those requiring proof of vaccination range from big clubs such as the Hollywood Improv to smaller ones including Dynasty Typewriter. Some are offering the option to show either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of entry, including Largo at the Coronet.

Performers at many of these venues will have to get used to muffled laughter, with indoor mask requirements back in place for vaccinated L.A. County residents and still in place for the unvaccinated throughout California. Rules at outdoor venues are still a little looser when it comes to vaccinations due to the lower likelihood of COVID-19 spread outside. That includes the Hollywood Bowl — no vaccinations needed — though mask wearing is encouraged when you’re not in your seat, attendees are encouraged to get vaccinated. A survey of Bowl patrons showed that most intended to get vaccinated. The Greek Theatre is also allowing unvaccinated patrons, but asking those who aren’t vaccinated to wear face coverings.

Nightclubs have also been grappling with the question of vaccines. While some are requiring either proof of vaccination or negative tests, others have been hesitant to put requirements in place when other clubs are welcoming people in without those limitations.

Public And Corporate Vaccine Mandates

The city of New York made headlines earlier this week after introducing a vaccine requirement for public indoor activities, including movie theaters, for both employees and attendees. L.A. City Council members introduced legislation that could lead to a similar requirement of at least one dose here to enter indoor spaces, including entertainment venues such as stadiums, concert venues and movie theaters. It remains to be seen whether this legislation will be passed by the Council and how long people would be given to get vaccinated before it goes into effect.

Some L.A. entertainment companies are among employers starting to require vaccinations for their staff. Netflix is one of the largest, requiring office workers to be vaccinated, with visitors also having to show proof of vaccination. Netflix was also the first major studio to require vaccines for cast and crew on their U.S. productions, following a deal reached with Hollywood guilds. Disney announced a mandate for its non-union employees, with union negotiations meaning that vaccinations for those employees might not come quite as quickly.

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What other major arts/entertainment venues have you seen requiring vaccinations? Let me know below or on Twitter.

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