Concert venues, theaters continue to reopen amid rising COVID-19 cases; some will require mask usage


Sean Horan (Flickr)

The Herberger Theater will require mask usage and social distancing when the Theater season begins this fall.

Ole Olafson, Reporter

As more bars, theaters and music venues continue to reopen to full-capacity, the Delta variant of the coronavirus has caused a spike in new COVID-19 cases.

The increase in infections caused the Center for Disease Control to recommend last week that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, should resume wearing masks indoors, in areas like Maricopa County which are experiencing a “high to substantial” rate of community spread.

Currently, privately-owned businesses are free to establish their own COVID-19 safety protocols, which could including requiring patrons to wear masks or provide proof of vaccination.

The variability of these protocols between specific venues and promoters could be a cause for confusion among Valley concert and event goers.

Ed Masley reported for Arizona Republic that ASU Gammage and Herberger Theater had mask requirements in place even before the CDC changed their recommendation.

All guests and staff will be required to wear masks at Gammage when the season begins on Sept. 8.

At this time, Herberger Theater is planning on requiring patrons and staff to be masked and maintain social distance between members of different households.  They will also reportedly limit restroom occupancy, require health screenings and temperature checks for workers, and will offer ticket refunds or exchanges for those who become ill.

Live Nation has multiple, large events scheduled around the Valley this month.  They told AZ Republic that they are “following the recommended safety guidelines as they evolve”.

Masely reported that local promoter Danny Zelisko told the Republic that, at this time, there are no plans to require mask usage at their events, but urged unvaccinated patrons to mask up.

“If you haven’t been vaccinated, I think you would be wise not to go into public anywhere without a mask,” Zelisko said.

A source also told that some musical acts have established their own set of required protocols for patrons and those who are in contact with musicians.

If you are planning to attend an upcoming concert or event, it will likely be a good idea to check the venue or promoter’s website to find out more about masking or vaccination policies.