By DIEGO JESUS BARTESAGHI MENA
Outpost in the Burbs will require patrons to show proof of vaccination for all of its fall shows, the longtime concert series announced this week. It’s one of several performance organizations reviewing policies as coronavirus cases tick up quickly.
“Our vaccination requirement is in place so that we can all enjoy the music and each others’ company comfortably and safely,” an announcement on Outpost’s website said.
Outpost said a patron must show a complete vaccination record dated at least 14 days prior to a show. Photocopies and cell phone photos will be accepted as well. But the venue won’t accept a negative COVID-19 test for admittance.
In addition, face coverings will be required for those waiting on line before entering, but face coverings are not required once inside the venue. Unvaccinated children of any age will not be permitted to enter.
The Montclair concert series’ first show for its 2021-2022 season will feature The Bongos at the Van Vleck House and Gardens. The vaccination policy will be enforced at that outdoor performance as well.
Some other shows for the season will be held indoors, at the First Congregational Church of Montclair. That includes the next show in the lineup, Robyn Hitchcock on Oct. 8.
Other venues have also changed their mask mandates or other policies due to increased coronavirus cases throughout the state, and plan to update their guidelines as needed during the fall season.
This week, Vanguard Theater Company officials decided to require all patrons and staff members to wear masks inside for its final show of its VTC Kids program’s season, Willy Wonka Kids, which concludes Friday night. The cast will be wearing face shields for the sold-out show.
“All of our staff and production/creative team members are fully vaccinated and that is a requirement, unless there is a medical or religious exemption. In that case, that staff member must be masked at all times,” theater managing director Jessica Sporn said. In addition, our staff and performers are tested by a service that comes in weekly.”
Vanguard Theater hasn’t updated its guidelines for the fall season yet, but will follow CDC and township guidance, officials said.
The Montclair Orchestra’s summer season has been outdoors, and the orchestra has been following the direction of its host, The Morris Museum in Morris Township, about its policies. On a listing for the orchestra’s Aug. 1 show, the museum’s website says face coverings are required for patrons who are not fully vaccinated.
However, as the fall season approaches, the orchestra will further review its policies.
“For our programs in the fall beginning Oct. 3. [when the orchestra’s fall season begins], our current expectation is to require that patrons be vaccinated, or to be masked if unvaccinated,” Andre Weker, orchestra president, said. “No proof of vaccination is required at this time, though we are prepared to change our approach as we continue to monitor the changing dynamics of the virus and its variants.”
As of Friday, Montclair was up to 2,757 cases, and 22 new cases had been reported in the prior seven days. Also as of Friday, 71% of the entire Montclair population, and 84% of those over age 18 were vaccinated, according to state data.
A general manager for the Wellmont Theater has not yet returned a call seeking comment on coronavirus policies. The next show on the theater’s calendar is 1964, a Beatles tribute, on Aug. 26. The show which had been postponed from originally planned dates in September, February and June.