The Tower Theatre in Oklahoma City sold out its first show where customers were required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test.
Last month, Tower Theatre announced it would impose a blanket requirement for vaccination or a recent negative test starting Sept. 8.
Stephen Tyler, a managing partner of the venue, said they sold out of tickets for the Aug. 28 performance of My So Called Band. Everyone who attended showed proof of vaccination or a negative test from the previous 72 hours, he said. It was the first time the venue enforced the new policy.
“That was a full, no social distancing, no restrictions, thousand-person capacity show,” Tyler said. “Generally, I would say that not only has the response been positive, but we’ve seen that it is not going to impact our business in an overtly negative way.”
Other venues in Tulsa have announced similar requirements for vaccination or negative tests.
Tyler said the requirement has prompted mixed reactions; however, ticket sales have outpaced refunds.
Tower Theatre was one of thousands of recipients of federal aid passed by Congress earlier this year. The music and performance industries largely shut down in 2020 because of the pandemic.
Tyler said the vaccine gives businesses an opportunity to fully reopen under normal capacity standards without government relief.
“We didn’t have a choice, we didn’t have the resource of a vaccine to keep us open. Now we have that resource and we’re using it and it’s working,” he said. “Venues across the country, promoters across the country, and most artists across the country are all seeing vaccine requirement as that pathway for all of us to move forward safely.”
One restaurant in Oklahoma City, Ludivine, announced last week it would require proof of inoculation for indoor dining.
“It’s all about safety,” said Russ Johnson, Ludivine owner. He added that customers and staff members suggested the requirement to him.
“As long as we feel like this is still what we have to do to keep our guests and our staff safe, then we’ll continue to do it,” Johnson said last week.