courtesy of Sally Pollak ©️ Seven Days
As of Friday, January 21, ArtsRiot in Burlington will require customers to provide proof of a vaccine booster shot against COVID-19 for entry. The South End restaurant, bar and music venue announced the new policy on Monday via social media "for all events moving forward, unless otherwise noted."
The move comes after ArtsRiot closed for the first week of January after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.
Vermont is currently in the midst of a dramatic spike in COVID-19 cases
. The surge is fueled by the highly contagious Omicron variant, which is now the dominant strain throughout New England, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The state set a single-day record on Tuesday with 1,727 reported cases of COVID-19. Cases in Vermont have increased 128 percent over a seven-day period, according to a report
by the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, also released Tuesday. The report echoed the CDC forecast of a sharp rise in cases following the holidays.
What that means for live music in the state remains to be seen. Many Vermont music and performing arts venues currently require proof of vaccination for entry. So far, ArtsRiot and Middlebury's Town Hall Theater are believed to be the only venues requiring proof of a booster shot. While the Town Hall Theater will accept a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours, ArtsRiot will not. Both venues also require patrons to wears masks.
"Our perspective is that we are following the scientific evidence to keep our staff and guests safe," ArtsRiot states in a FAQ about its COVID-19 policy on its website. "We understand that this is a sensitive subject, but we must destroy apathy and follow our mission statement."
The first show at ArtsRiot under the new booster shot requirement is scheduled for Friday, January 28, featuring singer-songwriter Ali McGuirk
with support from the All Night Boogie Band