Pabst Theater Group venues to require proof of COVID vaccination or negative test

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The Pabst Theater Group announced Thursday that ticket holders will be required to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test to enter shows. 

The new protocol goes into effect Sept. 1 at the entertainment group’s four Milwaukee venues: Pabst Theater, Riverside Theater, Turner Hall Ballroom and The Back Room at Colectivo. 

“We’ve been closed for 17 months and want to do everything in our power to never experience a devastating shutdown like that ever again. We owe it to our employees, patrons, artists, and our community to use whatever safety tools we have …,” the group said in a news release.

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To enter all shows beginning Sept. 1, ticket holders will be asked to show a valid COVID-19 vaccination card and photo ID, with the final dose at least 14 days prior to the event, or a negative COVID-19 test from within 72 hours of the event. Patrons are encouraged but not required to wear masks. Staff will wear masks at all shows, effective immediately. 

Those with tickets to shows booked before Sept. 1 are asked to check individual show pages through The Pabst Theater Group website for enhanced safety guidelines. 

Ticket holders who are unwilling to comply with the new entrance protocol will receive a refund or a voucher for an upcoming show, according to the release. 

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“This isn’t a political statement; it’s recognition that the science is showing vaccines protect from the worst potential outcomes of COVID-19. We need to recognize that COVID-19 will not be completely eradicated, like the flu isn’t, but we can adapt to manage it so we can live our lives as safely as possible and protect those who aren’t eligible or able to be vaccinated,” the group said. 

The move by Pabst Theater Group follows a similar one by Summerfest earlier this week. Attendees this year will be required to show a negative COVID-19 test result or proof of vaccination to enter the festival, which runs September 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18, as well as the Wednesday Weekend Preview concerts and Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.’s Little Big Town/BoDeans concert on Friday, Aug. 13 at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

The Pabst Theater Group is one of three dozen Milwaukee-area venues, restaurants, cultural institutions and businesses making a collective push to increase local vaccination rates through social media and email messaging this week. 

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