Despite surging COVID-19 cases and a decision by an eastern Iowa venue to begin requiring patrons to show proof of vaccination, organizers of large central Iowa events this weekend say they have no plans to step up existing precautions.
Adam Flack, the regional marketing director for Spectra, operator of the Iowa Events Center, told the Register via e-mail Wells Fargo Arena will stick with current policies when it hosts comedian Joe Rogan for a show Friday.
Though the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now advises even vaccinated people to resume wearing masks when at indoor events in areas where COVID-19 spread is elevated — including most of Iowa — “Our current policy does not require masks, although we do encourage them for those who are not vaccinated,” Flack wrote.
The Hinterland Music Festival, Friday-Sunday at Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in St. Charles, is encouraging — but not requiring — attendees who are unvaccinated to wear masks for the outdoor gathering. It notes that is in keeping with the updated CDC guidance.
And Mindy Toyne, whose company In Any Event is organizing the Iowa Craft Brew Festival on Saturday at Water Works Park’s Lauridsen Amphitheater in Des Moines, said there will be no mask requirement. She noted, however, that some fall events may add stricter requirements, depending on changing conditions.
Meanwhile, near Maquoketa, Codfish Hollow, an open-fronted performance barn, announced it will now require proof of vaccination before admitting ticket holders.
“In accordance with recommendations by the CDC and thoughtful consideration by the Codfish Hollow team, we will require proof of full vaccination in order to attend any Codfish Hollow shows during the 2021 season,” says a message on the Codfish Hollow website. “We will continue to monitor the circumstances and adjust as necessary.”
The website says the venue will provide refunds to anyone unable to attend a show due to the updated policy.
In response to a query from the Des Moines Register, Codfish Hollow said in a Facebook message that “it’s obviously a difficult time and the decisions are complicated and unfortunately are seen as divisive, which is not our intent. … We are doing the best that we can and wish people would remain respectful. We simply want to keep everyone as safe as possible during an unusual time in history.”
The Des Moines Metro Opera, which recently wrapped its season with Stephen Sondheim’s “Sweeney Todd,” also has put in place more specific precautions. It required attendees to provide a record of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of the performance. The requirement was waived for those who provided proof of vaccination, though all attendees were required to wear masks.