Future of local live entertainment is murky as vaccine rules vary
FORT MYERS, Florida – If your favorite singer or band came to Southwest Florida to perform, what would you be willing to do to see them in concert?
If you’ve been told to get the COVID-19 vaccine, you may need to.
For the past month or so, the country’s largest concert organizer has needed vaccines just to get in.
There is no doubt that momentum is building for live events to return to places like Hertz Arena. But a vaccine card could be your next ticket to enter the venue.
Abigail Acuna is a student at Florida Southwestern and has called it irresponsible to even organize a concert as a COVID-19 numbers are reaching record highs.
But concerts are in preparation, Live Nation has several planned for Hertz Arena.
Corbie Richardson, also a college student, is worried that crowding so many people inside will only help spread the Delta variant.
Hertz Arena does not require vaccines or masks, however.
But Live Nation CEO Michael Rapino said vaccines will be needed for artists, fans and festival staff at Live Nation Venues wherever possible in the United States.
Jeremy Sheridan is also a student at FSW and has said he will not attend an event that requires proof of vaccination stating it was nobody’s business.
He and others are wondering if it’s legal in Florida since the governor banned vaccine passports.
“I think legally at this time it can be done under Florida state law,” said Republican Attorney and State Representative Spencer Roach.
Roach supported the ban on vaccines on passports.
“It didn’t go so far as to ban private companies from requiring proof of vaccination,” Roach said.
It’s a question that Republicans and Democrats like Val Demings, who is running for the U.S. Senate seat in Florida, agree.
“If there are companies or different event promoters who want to make sure everyone present is vaccinated, we have to leave those decisions to them,” Demings said.
And it will also be up to the fans to decide if they want to attend.
“Yes, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going to a concert even if I’m vaccinated, it’s always like a danger,” said Abigail Acuna.
Live Nation said the rules for vaccine requirements will take effect where permitted on October 4.