Earlier this week, Pfizer announced a COVID-19 vaccine has a 90% efficiency rate. Since then, event professionals have been implementing a plan to have a promising return in 2021. While the global pandemic has hit the entertainment industry hard, cancelling the majority of concerts and touring plans, companies have been working on policies from the getgo to have shows safely return. Billboard reports, Ticketmaster is working on a post-pandemic fan safety plan involving smartphones to verify concertgoers’ vaccination status or whether they’ve tested negative for COVID-19 within a 24-72 hour window.
It’s imperative to mention this can take months to pan out as we don’t know how long it will take for full distribution of the vaccination. We also don’t know where the pandemic will be in the next coming months. Coronavirus cases have reached an all time high in the United States, surpassing 10 million cases, exceeding 100,000 daily new cases with over 60,000 coronavirus hospitalizations, and the death toll moving towards 1,000 a day.
This plan is currently in the development stage as the Ticketmaster digital ticket app is looking towards a third party company to provide health information such as CLEAR Health Pass or IBM’s Digital Health Pass. Pending plan approval, once fans purchase a ticket for the event, they would need to verify they’ve already been vaccinated or tested negative for COVID-19 within 24-72 hours before the event. The timeframe of being tested varies, as a fan could potentially be tested the same day of the event at a lab or health clinic. Once the test is complete, attendee would then ask the lab to share the results with their health pass company. If the test results show the concertgoer is negative or confirmed vaccination, the company will verify their status to Ticketmaster, granting the person access to the show.
The ultimate goal is for the testing and vaccination to occur before the show and not have fans showing up to the event, assuming tests would happen onsite. According to Billboard, Ticketmaster would not have access to the concertgoer’s medical records and would receive verification of whether the fan is cleared to attend the event.
While this process is still new and not confirmed just yet, different states could have other protocols and requirements. The FDA has not currently approved any third-party companies displayed in this plan to help deliver real-time vaccination results. Still, Ticketmaster president Mark Yovich is optimistic that will change as he expects the demand for digital screening services will attract further advancements in COVID-19 testing.
Yovich said to Billboard:
“We’re already seeing many third-party health care providers prepare to handle the vetting — whether that is getting a vaccine, taking a test, or other methods of review and approval – which could then be linked via a digital ticket so everyone entering the event is verified. Ticketmaster’s goal is to provide enough flexibility and options that venues and fans have multiple paths to return to events, and is working to create integrations to our API and leading digital ticketing technology as we will look to tap into the top solutions based on what’s green-lit by officials and desired by clients.”
Ticketmaster is also planning to work on a new SmartEvent system, which will help event organizers and fans to manage social distancing, delayed entry, and the possibility of contact tracing. While developments remain ongoing, precautionary measures will be required at any event, including additional safety regulations set per venue. These steps are a way to help us move forward together to return to concerts.