Northland entertainment venues weigh in on vaccine mandates

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We are living in a unique age of entertainment, where venues have been forced to adapt to a global virus to ensure their shows go on.

The latest change is a movement to mandate vaccines for both staff and guests.

In the Twin Cities, First Avenue led the pack—announcing that if concert-goers want to see a show, they need to show proof of vaccination or results of a negative COVID-19 test taken in the last 72 hours.

The Palace, the Fitzgerald, the Fine Line and the Turf Club all followed suit.

No mandates have been made yet in the Northland, but the DECC said it could be a possibility.

“During this entire pandemic, the DECC has been adapting as new advice or mandates have come out,” Lucie Amundsen, Director of Communications said. “We are ready to pivot when we need to.”

Amundsen added that for now, they are working on a case by case basis.

"We’re working with our individual events who rent our venue spaces to see what makes sense for their particular audience,” Amundsen said.

The new Garden Wedding and Event Center is also playing things by ear, waiting for recommendations and working to accommodate the preferences of their parties.

"Folks are already calling and asking: ‘Are there going to be restrictions as far as how big the groups can be? Will we have to wear masks? Will we have to have vaccines?’” Tony Bronson, Director of Business Development said. “Our answer to all of them at this point in time is ‘No.’ Recommendations are recommendations and mandates are another thing that may be happening down the line.”

Should a mandate be necessary, Bronson said the Garden will reach out to guests to provide them with the latest information and help them make decisions about whether to proceed with their event or reschedule it.

Both the Duluth Playhouse and Norshor Theatre are still putting final plans in place for the upcoming season and will communicate those plans to the public ahead of their opening date on September 17th.

The Zeitgeist has not yet announced whether they will consider a vaccine mandate for staff and guests.