[Opinion] It is necessary to require COVID-19 vaccines at entertainment venues

Lily Singer, Editor-in-Chief

For nearly the past two years, COVID-19 has had a massive impact on our lives. Every aspect of our day-to-day activities was altered in an effort to combat contracting and spreading the virus. On-campus school was shifted to online, masks were mandated in public areas and social distancing regimes were heavily enforced to limit the number of rising case numbers. However, the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine has thankfully assisted in the return to normalcy.

So far, over half the population has been fully vaccinated with 25.8 million doses administered to individuals aged 12 years and up. Due to the vaccine, people have gained protection from becoming extremely sick and dying from the virus, freeing up hospital beds and lightening the strain on our health resources.

Despite the first COVID-19 vaccine being approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), several individuals are still apprehensive about receiving the vaccine, risking the health of the rest of the population.

“We’ve been patient. But our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” President Joe Biden said in a Sept. 9 speech that was presented at the White House.

The rise of the extremely contagious Delta variant of COVID-19 has caused a spike in hospital admissions and deaths across the nation. The states who have been hit the hardest are those with the largest populations of unvaccinated individuals such as Alabama, Mississippi, Wyoming, Idaho and Louisiana.

As returning back to “normal” moves full speed ahead with no indication of slowing down, it is important for entertainment venues, such as restaurants, concerts and hotels to help combat the Delta variant and keep cases from rising. This can be done by requiring vaccinations to attend their events. Opting to not wear a mask in a crowded venue increases the likelihood of someone becoming infected with and passing on the virus.

Biden called upon the nation’s entertainment-industry executives to do their part to combat COVID-19 by adopting admission requirements that require masks, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

“To those of you running large entertainment venues, from sports arenas to concert venues to movie theaters, please require folks to get vaccinated or show a negative test as a condition of entry,” Biden urged in the Sept. 9 speech at the White House.

This is just one part of a broad set of vaccine and testing protocols that could impact up to 100 million Americans.

Many who work at concert venues, movie theaters and stadiums have struggled significantly throughout the pandemic. Numerous venues have had to close due to lockdowns or limit the numbers of people they could host, hurting their profits. It has been hard to find the delicate balance between keeping customers and performers safe and adopting rules that might drive them away.

This has resulted in a mix of requirements that vary by state and even city as the nation has taken a radically different approach to the Delta variant induced surge.
Various artists, such as Harry Styles and Tame Impala, have decided to mandate vaccinations and masks to get into their concerts, promising to turn away those without the proper requirements.

For an abundance of entertainment venues across the nation, it is unlikely that Biden’s words will have any impact on how they carry out their events. People are unmoving in their actions when it comes to their viewpoint on getting vaccinated. However, mandating vaccines and masks at these events will deter the unvaccinated and keep everyone safe. Luckily, many other venues have announced their decision to require proof of vaccinations in addition to requiring face coverings for the duration of the event.

If we want to maintain some sense of normalcy, it is vital for each and every one of us to do our part and make the conscious choices that will keep us and those around us safe.