Covid Protocols at Concerts: Local AZ and Washington D.C.


Molly Bomar, Co-Editor

Covid-19 vaccines, PCR tests, and negative tests have given way to public events again after the extreme lockdowns last year. Thousands of national and world concert tours were canceled, and some, thankfully, were rescheduled. 


This past month I was able to attend concerts by the band Surfaces, locally in downtown Phoenix, and Harry Styles, at the Capital One Arena in Washington D.C.


I visited Surfaces’ first concert on their 2021 American tour a few weeks ago and absorbed their eclectic, west coast sound into my bloodstream. The stage was set with strung bistro lights, faux grass rugs, and beach chairs, complete with a pastel backdrop of a sunset. The Van Buren concert hall was bouncing with college students after the opening acts, Public Library Commute and Verzache, on that Wednesday night.



Masks were only necessary for unvaccinated individuals, though vaccination cards were not checked at the packed venue. Visually, no safety protocols were observed excluding the stamps on our hands to disclose being underage. No negative tests were needed to enter, simply our ticket and minimal security clearance assured our place at the event. 


Last weekend I attended Harry Styles’ sold out, Love on Tour after its original date in 2020 was canceled. The Washington D.C. venue was filled to the nosebleeds with screaming girls, decked out in feather boas, pink cowgirl hats, and a few full body costumes, like bananas and traffic cones. 



To gain access to the arena, ticket holders had to download the Clear app and create a health account. This included scans of your driver’s license, face, and asked questions about your birthdate, address, and the presence of your vaccination card. If you were not vaccinated, attendees had to provide a negative Covid test within 48-hours of the concert. Masks were also mandatory for the entire 3-hour event.



Please note these eerily contrasting protocols were for two specific venues and do not represent the cities nor the states they reside in. Though the large attendance at both concerts begs the question for future decisions: will Covid-19 protocols become standard? Will they become a federal issue rather than a state one? Will attendees have to pick and choose concert venues based on their political values? What will happen to attendance if our cities, states, and country continue to demand protocols?


Despite any political and personal opinions, I ask you to attend these events while we still can. We don’t know what the future holds, so live in the moment, follow the protocols, and attend as many concerts as you can!