Academy of Music to reopen with strict COVID-19 protocols in place

  • The Academy of Music reopens Sept. 8, but ticket holders will need to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test to gain entry. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 8/23/2021 1:00:02 PM

NORTHAMPTON — The Academy of Music is poised to welcome audience members back for concerts and other events beginning in September — but attendees will have to come prepared to show they’re taking COVID-19 seriously.

With the rise of the delta variant now surging across the country and in parts of Massachusetts, the Academy will require ticket holders to show proof they’ve been fully vaccinated, or that they’ve had a negative Covid test within the past 72 hours. All attendees will be required to wear a face mask as well, including children under the age of 12.

“Fully vaccinated” in this case means being at least two weeks past the second shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or two weeks past the single shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to the Academy. Proof of vaccination consists of a CDC vaccination card or a clear, legible copy or photo of a card.

Ticket holders who lack proof of vaccination or a negative Covid test will receive refunds upon request, Academy officials said in a statement — but they will not be allowed to attend any events.

“These measures aim to ensure the safety of everyone — our patrons, artists, staff, and community,” Debra J’Anthony, the Academy’s executive director, said. 

Other local music venues have put similar or even more stringent policies in place.

Gateway City Arts in Holyoke, which has a full schedule of music planned in September and October, is requiring ticket holders to show proof of vaccination and to wear masks; no recent negative Covid test results will be accepted for entry. The Shea Theater in Montague has the same restrictions; non-vaccinated ticket holders will get a full refund, according to the Shea’s website.

In an interview earlier this summer, J’Anthony said all Academy staff members would be required to be vaccinated, and that concessions would be limited to bottled beverages and prepared packages of snacks to avoid possible transmission of the virus. At the time, she also raised the possibility that attendees would be required to wear masks.

For its upcoming shows — the season begins Sept. 8 with a concert by Americana singer and musician Rhiannon Giddens and multi-instrumentalist Francesco Turrisi — the Academy is also encouraging audience members to arrive a few minutes early “to accommodate document checks.”

For more information on the new protocols, visit aomtheatre.com/health-and-safety.

Steve Pfarrer can be reached at spfarrer@gazettenet.com.


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