This week started with a variety of health news that impacted the Northland. There was the University of Minnesota instituting an indoor facial covering requirement for everyone, an announcement from Target that said employees would be required to wear a mask while strongly recommending the public does the same, and then the recommendation from St. Louis County officials recommending everyone wear a mask while indoors public settings.  This all came after mask requirements were announced for both Grand Casino Hinckley and Grand Casino Mille Lacs as well as Duluth Whole Foods Co-op.

Needless to say the Delta variant, combined with a substantial number of people still not fully vaccinated, is starting to cause serious problems not just in other parts of the country, but right here in the Northland. Another announcement Monday night might foreshadow what is to come when it comes to indoor concerts.

First Avenue, the popular concert venue in Minneapolis, announced they will require concertgoers go be proactive in the fight against COVID-19 if they want to attend a show:

Effective immediately, all concerts and events at First Avenue and associated venues will require either proof of a full course of COVID-19 vaccination, or proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken in the prior 72 hours. Patrons must have a completed COVID-19 vaccination card, with their final dose at least fourteen days prior to the event, or a negative COVID-19 test result from 72 hours or less prior to the event.

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This policy is now in effect for all events at First Avenue, 7th St Entry, Turf Club, Fine Line, The Fitzgerald Theater, and Palace Theatre.

Owners say this step is necessary in order to protect the health of their guests, staff,  and the artists who perform at their six venues listed above. Originally, First Avenue required their staff to be fully vaccinated, but they've decided to take this extra step.

I guess this isn't a surprise since vaccinated people can still unwittingly carry and transmit COVID-19 and this would seemingly limit exposure to the virus and its variants to everyone in attendance at a show.

You may wonder how you effectively prove that you've been vaccinated or have a recent negative COVID-19 test. For First Avenue and related venues, "proof of vaccination may include a physical card or a photo of a complete vaccination card that matches the patron ID. Proof of a negative test may be a printed or digital test result that matches the patron ID."

That's good to know as I suspect this sort of thing might be the trend moving forward if we want to have any indoor concerts for the remainder of 2021 and even into 2022. This is purely speculation, but there was talk earlier this year that major venues and promoters might require similar things to attend a show.

While no widespread policies were put into place once summer arrived, cases are once again growing alarmingly fast and this may be the only way to avoid widespread cancellations similar to 2020.

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