DES MOINES, Iowa — As Wells Fargo Arena prepares to host its first concert in 18 months, two upcoming performers have announced new COVID-19 entry requirements.
Ticket holders will have to show proof they are fully vaccinated or have tested negative within 72 hours of entry for the AJR concert Sept. 14 and the Michael Bublé concert Sept. 17.
This comes after Spoon canceled their concert at Hoyt Sherman Place, which was set for Thursday.
The band said they had been working with local promoters to require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for entry, but they replaced the show with one in Omaha "due to Iowa's limitations of vaccine mandates."
So how are some performers able to require vaccinations or negative COVID tests while others cannot?
Under a state law that went into effect in May, any business that requires customers to provide proof of vaccination becomes ineligible for grants or contracts funded by state revenue.
Hoyt Sherman Place receives funding from the state, while Wells Fargo Arena does not.
"Our situation is a little more complicated," said Hoyt Sherman Place CEO Robert Warren.
Warren said the venue can easily accommodate the backstage protocols artists request. Hoyt Sherman has a brand new HVAC system and staff are required to wear masks and have proof of vaccination. However, when it comes to protocols for guests, it's not as easy.
Because the theater is connected to a historic mansion and art gallery, it gets historic tax credits from the state.
That means if a band like Spoon wants guests to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to get in, the theater has to say no or risk losing their state funding.
Wells Fargo Arena has more flexibility.
"If an event organizer wants to adhere to enhanced entry protocols, like AJR and Michael Bublé’s organizers are doing for their tours, then we will support that as best we can within the local limits," said Iowa Events Center regional marketing director Adam Flack.
Wells Fargo Arena is one of three facilities within the complex along with Hy-Vee Halla and the Community Choice Credit Union Convention Center.
Alan Jackson will play this Saturday at the arena's first concert since its pandemic hiatus. His organizers are not implementing any COVID-related entry protocols.
Hoyt Sherman Place and the Iowa Events Center both recommend masks for all guests.
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