As an experimental vaccine for COVID-19 continues to make progress, the concert industry is preparing for a potential return to live events in the coming months.
Ticketmaster is working on a plan to use smart phones to verify whether customers have been vaccinated or tested for coronavirus, according to Billboard.
While the plan is still in its early phases, Billboard reports the process would involve fans using the Ticketmaster app in partnership with medical information firms and vaccine and testing distributors.
Upon buying a ticket, fans would be required to either verify their vaccination status or prove they have tested negative for coronavirus within 72 hours prior to the concert dates. Regional health authorities would determine the length of coverage for any test.
After being tested, customers would authorize a lab to share their results with a health pass company such as IBM or CLEAR, according to the report. If one of the requirements was met, the health pass company would verify that information with Ticketmaster, which would then release the tickets to the customer.
Any fan who tested positive or failed to verify vaccination status would be denied access to the event.
UCLA School of Public Health Professor Anne Rimoin said that idea may sound good, but there are more complex issues associated with large gatherings at this time.
“The test you have today doesn’t mean that you can’t be exposed and then also become infected after that time,” she said.
Rimoin added that false negatives and other malfunctions can give a false sense of security and make people feel safer than they actually are.
“I miss it too, but I really implore people to…just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should do it,” she said.
While details are still murky, the report says Ticketmaster would only receive verification of a customer’s status and would not store or have access to medical records. All data sharing would be required to be in compliance with medical privacy laws.
Some music fans who spoke to KCAL9/CBS2 said that even the thought of seeing their favorite artists live again is not enough to justify gathering in such large crowds.
“If other safety procedures were put in place like making sure that within the environment they had separation…I think that would be more appropriate,” said Toluca Lake resident Kara Mann.
Like other live event companies, Ticketmaster has struggled as the coronavirus pandemic forced the cancellation and/or rescheduling of sports, concerts and other events across Southern California and around the world.
In April, the online ticket sales giant initially offered refunds for events that were canceled, postponed or rescheduled, but eventually clarified the site would only give refunds for canceled events.