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First Avenue to require COVID-19 vaccination or negative test for all shows, all venues ‘for foreseeable future’

An enthusiastic audience watched Finding Novyon perform at the Fine Line last month. (Darin Kamnetz for MPR)

Today, First Avenue announced that “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.” The policy applies to shows at First Avenue’s Mainroom and 7th St Entry; the Palace Theatre; the Fitzgerald Theater; the Fine Line; and the Turf Club.

The announcement came as part of a cascade of music-world reactions to a surge in coronavirus infections and illnesses fueled by the rapid spread of the highly contagious delta variant. National artists like Japanese Breakfast are announcing vaccination requirements for their tours; local artists such as Monica LaPlante are urging caution.

“Taking this step ensures the safety of our guests, staff, and the artists, and implementing this simple measure minimizes risk and the spread of the virus,” said First Avenue on its website. “First Avenue’s previous policy included mandatory vaccinations for staff, and this is an extension of those precautions.” Both printed and digital proof of vaccination or negative tests will be accepted; the policy will be in place for the “foreseeable future,” according to a press release.

First Avenue’s announcement comes almost exactly a month after their venues began reopening for indoor shows, which have largely been greeted with jubilant response from artists and fans. In recent days, however, the music community has grown uneasy at a rapid rise in COVID cases.

With the CDC recommending that all people, including those who are fully vaccinated, wear masks in indoor public settings where community transmission is high — including nearly all of the Twin Cities metro area — many local institutions are reinstating mask requirements. Follow MPR News for continuing coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.