Hoylman bill would require out-of-state entertainers, athletes to be vaxed to perform in NY venues

Photo courtesy of @TheGarden via Facebook

Sen. Brad Hoylman introduced the FAIR Vaccines Mandate Act that would prevent non- New York City based performers and professional athletes from getting away with bypassing COVID vaccine requirements.

Hoylman, D-Manhattan, made it clear that visitors from out of town should not have special privileges when it comes to vaccine requirements in public entertainment spaces because it puts too many people at risk and poses a double standard, he said.

“Our message is simple: Get jabbed or get outta’ town,” Hoylman said.

Performers and athletes such as podcaster and former Fear Factor show host Joe Rogan and NBA star Bradley Beal, classified as “out-of-town anti-vaxers” by Hoylman, are taking advantage of a legal loophole in New York City’s vaccine mandate.

According to guidance published by the Counsel to the Mayor of New York City on Sept. 28, 2021, only those who reside in New York City and are regularly employed by the Key to New York City establishment are required to provide proof of vaccination in entertainment venues. “Any other performer, or person accompanying that performer, does not need to provide proof of vaccination.” 

This means that any performer or athlete who lives in a different state is not required to follow vaccine mandates for indoor entertainment venues in New York City, putting large crowds of people at risk of getting COVID for attending certain events. 

Athletes representing “home teams” are required to be vaccinated as well as all performers living in the city.

Per New York City vaccine mandates, in order to attend indoor entertainment events such as live shows, people 12 and older are required to show identification and proof that they have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

In order to attend certain performances such as Joe Rogan’s recent show in New York City, one must provide proof that they had at least one dose of the COVID vaccination, and only the fully vaccinated guests are allowed to remove their masks. Yet Rogan was not held to the same standards or required to provide any vaccine information, since he resides in California. This holds true for other out-of-state entertainers, as well. 

Different events at venues such as Madison Square Garden have their own vaccine requirements. According to the Madison Square Garden’s FAQ page, “government mandates, venue protocols and event requirements are subject to change. Therefore, it is important for you to check your event page on our website to confirm details of your specific event.” 

So while anyone attending any live indoor shows is required to prove that they have received their first dose of the COVID vaccine, certain events have additional requirements. For example, some events require their guests to be fully vaccinated, or will require children ages 5-11 to provide proof of a negative COVID test to attend. 

Sen. Brad Hoylman, D-Manhattan. Photo courtesy of the New York State Senate Media Services.

According to Hoylman, his bill (S.7432) would prevent the “unequal application of vaccination requirements in places of entertainment and protect local staff, crew, players, performers, and audience members from a higher risk of contracting COVID-19.” There currently is no Assembly sponsor for the bill. It resides in the Senate Rules Committee. 

On October 2, Rogan performed live at Madison Square Garden on his Sacred Clown Tour. His vaccination status is unknown, but he is well known for posting an abundance of controversial content related to COVID and the vaccine on social media and in his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.

In an episode from his podcast featuring Meghan Murphy, a Canadian writer, Rogan addressed refunding all guests who were unable to attend his comedy shows at any venue that requires proof of vaccination. 

Although Rogan claims to not be anti-vaccination, he states “if someone has an ideological or physiological reason for not getting vaccinated, I don’t want to force them to get vaccinated to see a f****** stupid comedy show.”

Some New York residents who do not have the vaccine are missing out on events that they had paid for prior to vaccine mandates.

Brooke-Lynn Caso, a New Paltz resident, had to scramble to sell her tickets for a Harry Styles concert at Madison Square Garden because she does not yet have her vaccine. 

Caso said performers should be held to the same standards as their attendees in regards to being vaccinated.

According to Madison Square Garden’s website, to be eligible to attend this concert, those ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated as of two weeks prior to the show and children under 12 and children ages 5-11 must show proof of a negative COVID test.

“It’s frustrating because although most tickets were bought basically two years pre-COVID, now that arenas like Madison Square Garden are requiring you to be vaccinated, they don’t give you a refund if you can’t attend because of that,” she said. 

Even though Rogan told his fans they would get their money back if unable to attend his show due to vaccine mandates, other performers have not. 

“It’d just be easier, safer, and in the best interest of everyone for the people attending to just get a negative COVID test regardless of vaccination status. Because even if you’re vaccinated that doesn’t mean you can’t have COVID or spread it” Caso said.​​ 

“I don’t understand how they are going to require the people that are coming to their concerts to be vaccinated if the performers aren’t themselves.”