SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Starting Sept. 20, attendees at indoor events larger than 1,000 people in California will have to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within 72 hours of the event to attend.
California public health officials announced the new order Wednesday, which changes a previous order on indoor events that had allowed attendees to "self-attest." The new rule also lowers the threshold for indoor events, like concert venues and conventions, from 5,000 or more people to 1,000 or more.
State officials said the delta variant's spread continues to worry public health experts and cause COVID-19 to spread at a high rate. California hopes by requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test, these large indoor events won't aid the spread of the more contagious variant.
"The Delta variant has proven to be highly transmissible, making it easier to spread in large crowds where people are near each other for long periods of time," said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH Director and State Public Health Officer. "By requiring individuals to be vaccinated, or test negative for COVID-19 at large events, we are decreasing the risk of infection, hospitalization and death."
Outdoor "mega events" will still be able to use self-attestation for vaccine status, according to the state's updated health guidance:
Leaders from two major entertainment companies, AEG and Live Nation, voiced support for California's updated policy surrounding large-scale indoor events.
"Today's announcement adds another layer of protection to make our state, our venues and our communities safer," said Dan Beckerman, president/CEO of AEG. "Our fans, our team members and our families all want to feel as protected as possible from COVID-19 while enjoying our favorite concerts and sporting events. We are proud to partner with public health officials to continue to play a role in encouraging those who haven't gotten vaccinated to follow the advice of the medical experts."
Michael Rapino, president/CEO of Live Nation Entertainment, added, "Vaccination and health check requirements ensure everyone can continue enjoying live music while also encouraging even more people to go get vaccinated, which is why Live Nation has made this the standard at our venues and festivals across the country. We fully support California's efforts and will stay in lockstep to keep bringing live music back to the Golden State."
This new measure takes place in a month, and will not affect venues like shopping malls, museums, or churches, but it will impact expos, concerts, sporting events, and convention centers.
"Everybody has become accustomed to having to adjust in light of changing circumstances," shared the Executive Director of Marketing Communications for San Diego Convention Center, Maren Doughtery, "We knew given the Delta variant that it was possible that the protocols would change."
The Convention Center said they have spoken to their clients about the changes, many of which Dougherty said have gone above and beyond.
"They had already planned just based on either their audience or the format of the event, whatever considerations they had for their audience, they were planning already to have these protocols in place," shared Dougherty.
Some, like San Diego resident Robert Helena, said that the choice of showing documentation should be up to each host.
"The concert promoters and the people making those requirements they are running private companies promoting those concerts so that's their call," said Helena.
Other residents like Violet Navarete believe it's the right move.
"I'm vaccinated, and all my friends are vaccinated, but indoor spaces still give me a lot of anxiety," Navarete shared. "and I think that is probably just not used to being inside like after a year and a half, it's very overwhelming."
"I think until we are out of this, I think we need to think of other people," stated Pujari Scheaffer. "Think of others and not just think of ourselves and what's comfortable for me."
Wednesday's move comes after a series of public health policies went into effect that require all California health care workers to be vaccinated and all school workers throughout the state to provide proof of vaccination or submit a weekly COVID test.
The City of San Diego and Encinitas have also implemented requirements for city workers to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination.