Belleville News-Democrat

Pop’s concert venue will require people to show proof of vaccinatio­ns or negative virus tests to see shows.

- Belleville News-Democrat

Pop’s in Sauget is joining a growing list of venues that will require concertgoe­rs to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinatio­ns or negative tests taken within 72 hours of show times.

The 40-year-old “dance and night club” posted its new COVID Safety Policy on Facebook last week. It took effect immediatel­y.

“We really don’t want to do this but it’s the only way,” the short policy read. “This is the current industry standard until infection numbers drop. We hope that is very soon.”

The policy specifical­ly requires proof of at least one vaccine dose between now and Oct. 20 and both after that date.

Customers also must wear masks when entering. “This is to safeguard door staff who are in close contact while getting patrons into the building,” the policy states.

Pop’s announced the decision on Aug. 24, two days before Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker reinstitut­ed a statewide mask mandate for indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccinatio­n status, due to an increasing number of coronaviru­s infections and hospitaliz­ations.

Pop’s is offering refunds for concert tickets already purchased by those who want them.

Nearly 375 people have commented on the venue’s Facebook post, many criticizin­g the new policy. Some promised never to return.

“Nice job taking a knee on the politics field,” one person wrote. “There are (artists) out there who actually request no masks ... Go woke go broke.”

“If you’re trying to save lives, conforming to tyranny isn’t the way to do it,” another quipped.

Other people praised Pop’s management for explaining their position, allowing comments on the Facebook post and offering refunds.

Still others supported the COVID-19 vaccinatio­n requiremen­t.

“You guys have to do what has to happen to keep shows running,” one wrote. “I applaud you guys for making the tough, but ultimately necessary decision.”

A few commenters didn’t think the policy went far enough, noting that vaccinated people can still spread the coronaviru­s and suggesting that Pop’s require tests for all concertgoe­rs.

One man questioned how the venue will avoid people entering with forged vaccinatio­n cards.

“It’s just a piece of paper you can make at home with any printer,” he wrote. “Then you can literally just take a blurry screen shot. Lol. Just saying.”

Here’s the explanatio­n that Pop’s posted with its new COVID-19 policy:

“After discussing with various artist/agents and watching the policies in place nation wide, we have finalized our COVID safety policy. Mitigation is the best way to continue. Although breakthrou­gh infections are possible, vaccinatio­ns or negative test results will lessen the risk of touring.

“Simply put, artists (especially openers) can’t survive missing out on 14 days of pay. Venues can’t survive spending marketing budgets only to lose the show due to outbreak. Venues/artist are already struggling to fill jobs and we can’t afford to lose work for our current employees ...

“It’s a pain and all venues would rather not have to deal with this but we do. We have to find more staff to enforce these rules while bringing in no extra money.

“Before the complaints come in, you don’t have to be vaccinated to attend. You just have to get a negative test. It’s the least you can do to ensure the safety and financial well being of your favorite artist. It could be your favorite artist dropping dates or canceling tours.

“If you are opposed to this, you may have to sit out these shows until things get better. If you feel the need to attack us in the comments, we don’t check them. It may actually raise the rank of our Facebook page due to a high engagement... social media is a nightmare.

“We are just trying to stay open, keep our employees/artist safe and working. We are celebratin­g 40 years and would like to celebrate 50 in 2031.”

Upcoming concerts at Pop’s include ATG and Smiley Boy on Sept. 11, Jordan Baumstark on Sept. 18, Islander on Sept. 20, David Nail on Sept. 24, The Dead Daisies on Sept. 27, P.O.D. on Sept. 29, Kevin Gates on Oct. 1 and Caskey on Oct. 8.

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Belleville
 ?? Riverfront Times ?? Pop’s in Sauget is requiring concertgoe­rs to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinatio­ns or negative tests taken within 72 hours of show times.
Riverfront Times Pop’s in Sauget is requiring concertgoe­rs to show proof of COVID-19 vaccinatio­ns or negative tests taken within 72 hours of show times.

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