The Los Angeles Philharmonic is not known for playing it safe. But when it comes to COVID-19, the orchestra has announced a strict set of policies designed to keep its patrons protected. When concerts resume at Walt Disney Concert Hall in early October, all audience members will need to show proof they are fully vaccinated before they are allowed into the auditorium.
This requirement is intended to “enable the safest possible reopening for in-person indoor events,” the orchestra said in a statement issued Monday. It adds that “the LA Phil will also follow the guidelines of the L.A. County Department of Public Health, which currently requires all persons to wear masks indoors.”
“Fully vaccinated” means you received your final dose of an FDA or WHO-authorized vaccine at least two weeks prior to the concert. “Along with their ticket, attendees will need to bring a photo ID and either their physical vaccination card, a picture of their vaccination card, or a digital vaccination record,” the orchestra states.
The Philharmonic is accommodating unvaccinated patrons to a point. It announced that current ticket holders who are not fully vaccinated by the day of the concert can receive a credit to their account, or request a full refund for the cost of the tickets. “Subscribers who choose not to renew their tickets this season will have their seat locations retained and the opportunity to renew them for the 2022–2023 season,” the announcement adds.
The new protocol forced the cancellation of the first two concerts in the Philharmonic’s Toyota Symphony for Youth Series, since children under 12 are currently ineligible to get a vaccine. Once that changes, the series will resume with all-vaccinated audiences.
Proof of vaccination is not required at the Philharmonic’s two outdoor venues, the Hollywood Bowl and the Ford Amphitheater. Concertgoers at those facilities are strongly urged to bring a mask and wear it whenever they are not in their ticketed seat. (See update below.)
The Philharmonic is the latest Southern California ensemble to announce strict safety guidelines due to the persistent pandemic. When the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra reopened Walt Disney Concert Hall with a concert in June — that is, the pre-delta-variant era — it required all patrons to be vaccinated, but did not mandate masks.
According to the Los Angeles Master Chorale’s recently announced guidelines for the coming season, all members of the audience will have to present evidence they are fully vaccinated, or that they have had a negative coronavirus test over the previous 72 hours. They will also be masked.
LA Opera has been surveying its patrons regarding what guidelines would help them feel safe enough to return to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. An announcement of its COVID-19 protocol is expected soon.
On Aug. 17, Los Angeles County Health department mandated masks for outdoor events at large venues such as sports arenas and the Hollywood Bowl. Effective as of 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 19.
On Aug. 18, LA Opera announced similar guidelines for its season-opening production of Il Trovatore (Sept. 18 – Oct. 10). Operagoers will be asked to show proof of vaccination or a negative coronavirus test and to wear masks. For audiences not quite ready to go back in-person, the company will livestream two performances, Oct. 3 and 6. LA Opera plans to stream subsequent productions this season, as long as the vaccine requirement is in place.