Ticketmaster looks to offer option requiring vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for access to events


HONOLULU (KHON2) — It will likely be months before a big concert or event will return to Hawaii, however, there is the question of coronavirus safety once shows do resume and the large crowds that will gather.

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Currently, Ticketmaster is the primary ticket seller for Neal S. Blaisdell Concert venues. The company has come up with some guidelines to help event organizers figure out how to get audiences back into these live events safely.

Some of the things Ticketmaster is helping organizers decide on is how many people should be seated to allow for social distancing and how to work a contactless box office amid a pandemic.

Ticketmaster says they’re also exploring the potential of working with healthcare providers to link COVID-19 test results right to people’s tickets. It would be an option for venue organizers who want to require people to get tested before events or verify whether concert goers have received a COVID-19 vaccine once one is approved.

We imagine there will be many third party health care providers handling vetting. Whether that is getting a vaccine, taking a test or other methods of review and approval, it could then be linked via a digital ticket so everyone entering the event is verified.

Mark Yovich, Ticketmaster President

“I think it’s something that’s going to have to happen if people want to get back live entertainment,” said Rick Bartalini, concert promoter and owner of Rick Bartalini Presents.

Bill Marr, Mariah Carey and Diana Ross were some of the acts that were supposed to take place this year under Rick Bartalini Presents, but were cancelled due to COVID-19.

“It’s been tough for everybody because when you look at, not only for my business, and what we had invested in shows, all that money is gone. So the money we spent for advertising in any advance expenses is non-recoupable,” Bartalini explained.

Bartalini said he’s predicting the industry could return in late 2021. His first event is tentatively scheduled for September of 2021. He adds that Ticketmaster’s guidelines could help move the process along faster.

“I definitely think people will feel safe knowing that there are certain protocols, and that way they don’t really have to worry,” Bartalini said.

Questions still remain as to how organizers would work with healthcare providers while making sure private information is protected.

However, Bartalini is hopeful a solution can be worked out and the efforts will help get the live entertainment industry back on its feet.

“Coming together for those shows, it is an escape. It’s a time that you can forget about your problems and enjoy the experience. I really look forward to welcoming people back to shows and having that energy.”

Rick Bartalini, Rick Bartalini Presents Owner

KHON2 is still waiting to hear back from the City and County of Honolulu to find out how these plans could be implemented for venues at Neal S. Blaisdell Center.

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