Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra announced Tuesday it will be requiring proof of vaccination for entry into all its upcoming indoor concerts and events.
The decision comes on the heels of the dramatic surge in COVID-19 cases as the Delta variant spreads throughout the United States. The vaccination policy will be in full effect beginning with the "Classical Evolve" composer competition event on Sept. 22.
The vaccination policy will be implemented as an open-ended one, with any changes or reversals being considered and/or implemented based upon informed updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and/or state health institutions relating to infection rates, transmission data, variant developments and local and federal regulations.
As of today, the policy is planned to be in effect through Dec. 31.
“It’s the right thing to do,” said Christina Salerno, IPO executive director. “Only a few months ago, we were very optimistic about where things were heading in regard to the pandemic. Since then, the Delta variant, combined with vaccine hesitancy, has pushed things in the wrong direction. We have stated since Day One the health of our audiences, event attendees, musicians and staff were our biggest priority. That has not changed, and it will not change.”
Patrons attending IPO concerts and events will be required to provide proof of full vaccination, which is defined today as two weeks after the second dose of a two-dose series (Pfizer or Moderna) or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen).
Proof of vaccination can be shown either via the mobile app “My Bindle” or via manual checks of a valid vaccine record upon entrance to the theater. All attendees must also be fully masked, including children under the age of 12 who are currently ineligible for vaccination but are allowed to attend masked.
In addition to the new vaccination policy, IPO will be seating audiences ten feet from musicians and intentionally spacing out patron seating more than usual.
“We realize some people might see this as a dramatic step, however we feel it’s the right one to both keep everyone safe as well as put attendees’ and musicians' minds at ease while spending their precious time with IPO," Salerno said.