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Vaccines, masks will be required at Denver's Performing Arts Complex

After COVID vaccines rolled out the outlook for events, shows and festivals looked bright – now surging COVID cases forcing events to add more rules, restrictions.

DENVER — COVID-19 vaccines and face coverings will be required at the Denver Performing Arts Complex (DPAC) this fall.

The new policy will be effective Oct. 1 and continue indefinitely for the four resident DPAC companies — Colorado Ballet, Colorado Symphony, Denver Center for the Performing Arts and Opera Colorado.

The policy applies to all ticketed public performance taking place in Boettcher Concert Hall, Ellie Caulkins Opera House, and the Buell, Garner Galleria, Wolf, Kilstrom, Singleton and Jones theatres.

Face coverings will be required for Colorado Symphony performances at Boettcher Concert Hall beginning Sept. 1.

The new policy states:

  • All patrons 12+ must be fully vaccinated before attending performances.

  • Children under the age of 12 must instead provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the performance start time, or a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken within six hours of the performance start time.

  • All audience members 2+ must wear masks unless enjoying refreshments in designated areas. Food and beverages will not be permitted inside the theatre.

DCPA said months of audience surveys indicate that 96% of theatre patrons report being vaccinated. Additionally, the vast majority of the survey respondents said that they would be more likely to attend performances if a vaccination requirement is implemented.

The way in which proof of vaccination will be accepted or collected will be forthcoming, said DCPA.

"Over the past 18 months, the health of our extended theatre family has never been more top of mind," said Janice Sinden, DCPA president & CEO. "We want our patrons to thoroughly enjoy our return to the stage knowing that we have done our best to ensure their wellbeing.

"In addition to this new policy, we will introduce touchless digital tickets," said Sinden. "Plus, we have already installed hand sanitizer stations, increased cleaning of high-touch surfaces, and greatly improved fresh air flow, filtration and sanitization.

"We are ready to welcome the entire metro Denver community to opening night in November!"

“Over the past 18 months, health and safety of our patrons, musicians, and staff has remained top priority,” said Jerome H. Kern, Colorado Symphony Board Chair and CEO. “We want the safest possible return to live symphonic performances for our community.”

“In addition to this new policy, we have introduced contactless digital tickets,” added Kern. “With this and other protocols in place, we’re hopeful a return – albeit unusual – to live music will be celebrated.”  

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As Colorado moves into this next phase of COVID19, its unclear how event and entertainment planning will proceed. Some organizations, like the performing arts complex have adjusted COVID precautions. Others have very few precautions.

This Saturday, Empower Field welcomes back Broncos fans for the first preseason home game. The Broncos will host a full-capacity crowd this weekend, and vaccinations are not required for fans. Masks are not required but unvaccinated guests are strongly encouraged to wear them.

And other event organizers have made the difficult decision to postpone or cancel plans once again.

Denver International Buskerfest was planned for Sept. 10 to Sept. 12 at Union Station. But the event, which features street performers, will now be postponed until 2022, according to a press release this week.

Earlier this year, Great American Beer Festival announced its public festival was canceled for the second year in a row. The Brewers Association will still host the 2021 competition and awards ceremony.

WeldWerks Brewing Company, located in Greeley, has also announced plans to postpone the WeldWerks Invitational Festival until next year.

Jake Goodman, director of experience for the brewery, said several participating breweries, including those from out-of-state, backed out or were considering backing out due to various concerns around COVID and travel. Goodman said WeldWerks didn't want to host something that wouldn't honor the original intent of the event.

"Once we're all on same page and everyone is feeling good about everything – it will all get underway again at certain point," he said. "But what we won't do is pre-emptively try to shove something through just to say 'Whew, we did it. We threw this event.' If it isn’t going to be just right, why do it at end of day?"

Adding salt to the wound, WeldWerks used this festival to raise money for local non-profits. "It was mostly sad, not just for community but also [the festival] brings all of our favorite people - both brewers and attendees, friends around country, in to have some good northern Colorado hospitality."

Goodman said the brewery will find other ways to help their community this year, and plan to try the festival again in 2022. The brewery said 2021 tickets will be refunded. 

Meanwhile, Goodman said WeldWerks still plans to have some fun and showcase some beer during the late-October weekend of the previously planned event.

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