By LOUIS C. HOCHMAN
Saturday Night Live alumnus and New Jersey resident Jim Breuer says he’s cancelled his upcoming appearance at the Wellmont Theater over the venue’s requirement that patrons be vaccinated or show recent negative coronavirus tests.
“I know I am going to be sacrificing a lot of money, but I am not going to be enslaved by the system, or by money, and and nor should anyone who wants to laugh and be entertained,” Breuer said in a video posted via Facebook Live Friday.
The Wellmont is one of several venues in recent weeks to newly require vaccination or a negative coronavirus test. In the Wellmont’s case, a patron must be past the 14-day inoculation period after a second shot, and present a vaccination card, a copy of one or verification through New Jersey’s Docket app or New York’s Excelsior Pass.
Alternatively, a patron can present results from a negative PCR coronavirus test received in the previous 72 hours (or sooner if required by an artist). Antigen rapid test results aren’t accepted. There are no exceptions for people under age 12, who cannot currently be vaccinated. The Wellmont also requires anyone attending a show to wear a mask except when eating or drinking.
Breuer, in his video, said he also wouldn’t play the Mayo Performing Arts Center in Morristown, “my home” (Breuer lives in nearby Chester Township), though he didn’t have any shows there currently announced. The Mayor Arts Center requires vaccination for anyone who doesn’t have an exemption for a medical, religious or other excused reason; it requires a negative PCR tests in those cases.
And Breuer said he’d cancelled a show at the Royal Oak Music Theatre in Michigan, which he was scheduled to play Oct. 1. That’s the day the Royal Oak’s management, AEG Presents, will begin its own vaccination-only policy. Prior to that date, it’ll accept negative PCR tests as an alternative.
In his video, Breuer blamed concert promoter Live Nation, regulators and governors for vaccine requirements. He said he’d play back yards or small venues that don’t “segregate” if he had to.
“I don’t care if you’re vaccinated,” Breuer said. “That’s great. It’s a choice. And if you have anything else to say, I honestly don’t care.”
He said by refusing to play venues that require vaccination, he’d “stick to my morals.”
“The last thing we need is segregation,” he said. “And if you try to segregate my audience, or my following, or any following, I’m walking away.”
The Wellmont, on the COVID-19 policy page of its website, says it put in place its rules “in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and in response to the increasing threat of the Delta variant.”
A message left at its offices Monday had not yet been returned.
Several venues in and around Montclair have announced vaccination policies in the last several weeks or months.
Vanguard Theater Company in Montclair and Luna Stage in West Orange (formerly in Montclair) are both participants in the New Jersey Theater Alliance’s “Opening Night, Opening Right” campaign. They require proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test within the prior 36 hours. Outpost in the Burbs requires proof of vaccination for all of its fall shows, with a vaccination record dated at least 14 days prior to a show; the venue won’t accept a negative coronavirus test. Montclair Orchestra requires vaccination as well.