As vaccination numbers rise and in-person events become more common again, many event creators are thinking about how they can best protect the health and safety of their communities. Some are also wondering how they can help promote the vaccination effort — because the more people who get vaccinated, the safer events will be. 

Lately, you might have heard some buzz about whether proof of vaccination will become the norm for making live events, travel, lodging, and other occasions safer. And you may be wondering how vaccines and changing case counts will affect event planning this summer and beyond. These issues are all new, evolving, and complicated, especially for event creators who are ready to share their passions with an audience or community again. We’re keeping our pulse on the latest updates and have provided some here.

The evolving vaccine landscape

According to the CDC, daily infection rates for COVID-19 in the US are trending downward and are at their lowest levels in nearly a year, even as the country’s number of confirmed deaths from the virus surpassed 600,000 on June 15. This trend tracks closely with the vaccine rollout. As more people get vaccinated, fewer people are getting sick.

A new analysis from The Washington Post indicates that coronavirus infections are dropping in states where a large share of the population is vaccinated, and rising where they are not. States with low vaccination rates (fewer than 20 percent of residents vaccinated) also have much higher hospitalization rates. “As recently as 10 days ago, vaccination rates did not predict a difference in coronavirus cases, but immunization rates have diverged, and case counts in the highly vaccinated states are dropping quickly,” the June 14 analysis found.

As the World Health Organization (WHO) says, “Vaccines are a critical new tool in the battle against COVID-19.” As of May 2021, everyone 12 years of age and older can make appointments. Wider vaccine distribution has also helped address the inequities in who gets affected by COVID-19, which are caused by decreased access to healthcare, among other factors.

Despite the evidence supporting the safety and effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines, some people remain hesitant to get theirs. Widespread vaccine adoption is expected to be critical in reducing the community prevalence of COVID-19, which will eventually enable larger public gatherings to take place with lower risk to event-goers.

Increased vaccinations and falling infection rates have opened the door to the return of in-person events. Individuals who have been fully vaccinated are now able to safely attend private gatherings with others who have been fully vaccinated, in certain circumstances, even without a mask. Vaccines are also making air travel safer, which means we could see an increase in attendance from out-of-towners and have more flexibility when booking speakers and performers. The most recent CDC guidance, updated on May 28, says there’s no longer a need for fully vaccinated people to get tested for COVID-19 or self-quarantine before or after travel. According to the Transportation Security Administration, more than 2 million people went through airport security checkpoints on June 11, which was the highest level since the pandemic began. However, the CDC has not yet fully approved medium or large indoor gatherings. They suggest outdoor events or smaller gatherings instead. 

As a creator of live events, you can play a pivotal role in controlling the spread of the virus through adopting science-backed safety measures and protocols at your event. Variables like size, format, location, and food service at your event will dictate which safety measures you should put in place. As you determine your event’s policies, be sure to stay current on the latest guidance provided by the CDC and restrictions imposed by local authorities. Find what you need to know and do before, during, and after your event in our COVID-19 Safety Playbook, which lays out how creators can maintain the health and safety of their communities.

Vaccine verification

The landscape — and laws — around COVID-19 vaccine verification are rapidly evolving. Some event creators are requiring proof of vaccination for entry, while others are requiring all staff members to be vaccinated. Some are using vaccine status to determine which safety precautions apply to an individual attendee. At Yankee Stadium as well as many other sports venues throughout the country, attendees who show proof of vaccination will be able to sit in vaccinated-only sections, where they will not be required to wear masks or socially distance.

The legal implications of requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test are state specific and, in many cases, remain unclear. The governors of Florida, Alabama, Montana, and Texas have signed executive orders prohibiting some private businesses from requiring proof of vaccine for entry in the respective states.. New York, on the other hand, was the first state to launch a COVID-19 vaccine pass and California Gov. Gavin Newsom says the state is about to launch an electronic vaccine verification program.

There are various methods of verifying vaccine status, from self-attestation during registration or at the door of the event to smartphone apps that use vaccine records to create scannable entry passes. The European Union’s Digital COVID CertificateDigital Green Pass, a free mobile app that provides proof of vaccination via a QR code,which includes proof of vaccination, went live in early June ahead of a full launch on July 1. It has been adopted by 12 E.U. countries, with another 16 prepared to start using it soon. Japan plans to roll out its vaccine passport this summer

The state of New York has launched its Excelsior Pass, a voluntary digital pass that businesses and venues can use to ensure patrons, or event attendees, meet any vaccination or testing requirements for entry. In addition, private software companies are developing apps that store test results and vaccine records and create scannable passes for entry to client venues.

Again, as you assess your COVID-19 safety protocols, including whether or not to implement vaccination or testing requirements for your events, make sure to comply with local laws, regulations, and orders. ADA accommodations may also be required for attendees who can’t get the vaccine for medical or religious reasons, such as the option to show a negative COVID-19 test result in lieu of vaccine verification, or to wear a mask and/or sit in a separate section. No matter what your policy is, be sure that it is clearly stated and enforced, including how you will handle refund requests for those who fail to comply.

As the landscape continues to evolve, count on Eventbrite’s Event Industry Report to keep you in the loop on how event planners are navigating regulations and requirements.

Get the Safety Playbook to help plan your event

We’re committed to helping event creators navigate the COVID-19 landscape. Our COVID-19 Safety Playbook for Events is the perfect place to start planning your next in-person event.

Notice: This article is provided for general information only and is not medical, legal, or professional advice. Eventbrite expressly disclaims liability for any loss or damage that results from any application of, or reliance upon, anything in this document by you, your agents, or your guests. Please consult your legal counsel, insurance advisor, and other professionals for tailored advice on your legal obligations and how to mitigate risk at your events.

Eventbrite has prepared these materials with information that it believes is current as of the date listed. Guidelines and information about the virus continue to change regularly. You should review the most up-to-date resources and applicable local laws, regulations, and orders on a regular basis leading up to your event, which should take precedence over any of the general information presented in this article.

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