As the Arsht Center enters its 15th season, anyone who is at least 12 years old will need to show proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. The new health protocols will take effect October 5, and attendees who are 2 years old or older will also need to wear a mask inside the theater regardless of testing and/or vaccination status.
“We believe this extra layer of precaution, which has been adopted by other Florida venues, will keep our community as safe as possible," Johann Zietsman, the center's president and CEO, said in a statement. "Not only does this decision help stop the spread of COVID-19, it also reflects the desires expressed by our audiences, protects the jobs of the artists onstage and the crews behind the curtain, and complies with requirements established by many touring artists coming to the Arsht Center."
The venue says the new protocols will be in effect until further notice. Arsht will continue to digitally scan tickets on patrons' phones as well as provide hand-sanitizing stations and restrooms equipped with touchless toilets and sinks.
The updated health measures are considered a work-around of the executive order Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in May, which bars businesses from requiring proof of vaccination.
Live Nation, a prominent concert promoter, rolled out similar protocols last month that will go into effect at all shows on October 4.
Robert Shimberg is an attorney who heads a COVID-19 rapid response team at the Tampa-based law firm Hill Ward Henderson. In an interview with the Tampa Bay Times after Live Nation announced it would require a negative COVID-19 test to attend any shows, Shimberg says these alternatives to mandating vaccinations are legally sound.
“Obviously in Florida, the one thing the executive order doesn’t allow is demanding proof of a vaccine,” Shimberg told the newspaper. “But there are many other things they can do, such as requiring masking, proof of a negative test, or social distancing.”
A spokeswoman for DeSantis' office confirmed to the Times that the work-around was legally sound.
Any changes to the Arsht's new policy will be recorded here and directly messaged to ticket holders.