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For more businesses, vaccination proof now part of admission

  • A COVID-19 vaccination record card. ALLEN J. SCHABEN/GETTY IMAGES

  • Honest Weight Artisan Beer co-owner Jay Sullivan checks on a batch of beer at the Orange brewery in July 2020. Honest Weight adopted a requirement earlier this month for patrons to show proof of vaccination before entering the brewery. Staff File Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Honest Weight Artisan Beer in Orange adopted a requirement earlier this month for patrons to show proof of vaccination before entering the brewery. Staff File Photo/Paul Franz

  • At Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (received within the last 48 hours) is required to enter the venue until further notice. Staff photo/MARY BYRNE

Staff Writer
Published: 8/23/2021 5:57:10 PM

With COVID-19 cases on the rise locally and statewide, area businesses and organizations are beginning to request or require their patrons be vaccinated.

“We’re just paying attention to the guidance from the reputable sources that are out,” said Sean Nolan, co-owner of Honest Weight Artisan Beer in Orange, which adopted a requirement earlier this month for patrons to show proof of vaccination before entering the brewery. “My wife works in the public health field, and every day we talk about this stuff.”

Since Aug. 5, the business has required proof of full vaccination from all patrons who wish to be seated indoors, he said.

“We do offer outdoor seating for folks who are unable to or are unwilling to show the card,” he said.

A photo of the vaccination card will suffice, according to the business’ website.

Patrons are also required to be masked while not seated, Nolan said. Masks can be provided to those who don’t bring one.

The entire staff is vaccinated, he added.

Nolan said the establishment’s requirements aren’t political — “it’s 100% about safety.” Still, while the response to the requirement has been generally well-received, the business has also heard from a “vocal and really rude minority.”

“Thankfully, it’s a small amount,” he said. “We don’t like dealing with it, but we sort of expected it.”

In Greenfield, too, businesses are updating their mask and vaccination expectations.

At Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, for example, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test (received within the last 48 hours) is required to enter the venue until further notice, according to the venue’s website.

Individuals who are not vaccinated — but who have shown proof of a negative COVID-19 test — will be expected to wear a mask while indoors.

At the city level, Mayor Roxann Wedegartner — in coordination with the Greenfield Board of Health’s recommendation earlier this month — “strongly recommends” masks indoors when in public.

Additionally, masks will be required of all visitors to City Hall, as well as other municipal buildings, according to a press release from the city.

“We need to be careful right now and do all we can do to bring our numbers back down, which is why we are making this strong recommendation about mask wearing at this time,” Wedegartner said. “We hope it will only be temporary in nature. Please mask up when you are in public to help protect yourself, your loved ones and the most vulnerable members of our community.”

In New Salem, the 1794 Meetinghouse — although not yet requiring — is requesting its patrons be vaccinated.

“We’re continuing to re-evaluate,” said Brad Foster, executive director of the summer concert venue on South Main Street. “In terms of vaccinations, it’s a request and we’re not requiring proof yet.”

Everyone indoors is required to wear a mask, with the exception of on-stage performers, he noted. Additionally, to allow for more space inside, the foyer activities — ticket and concessions — have been moved to the front lawn.

“We limited our capacity to 60% of maximum, just in order to create more space,” he added.

Foster said the 1794 Meetinghouse has had one show with the current policies and expectations in place.

“It’s just marvelous to be able to invite people back into our hall,” he said.

Foster said he is regularly in conversation with two individuals on the board of directors who work in the public health field.

“I’m sort of expecting we’ll tighten things up for our September concerts,” he said.

Foster said the request for vaccinations and the precautions taken at the venue are in response to the recent climb in COVID-19 numbers, in some cases linked to the new delta variant, after an initial decline in cases following vaccination efforts.

“The other side of it is wanting concert patrons to be comfortable, and that’s a hard one,” Foster said, noting the venue offers full refunds. “There have been very few comments, and they’ve been on both sides. That’s hard, but we’re aiming for a middle ground that will be as attractive to the widest group of people we can.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne




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