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Pablo Center Will Require COVID Vaccination or Proof of Negative Test

arts center unveils health guidelines ahead of Sept. 11 re-opening

Tom Giffey, photos by Mike O'Brien |

The RCU Theatre at the Pablo Center at the Confluence during the 2019 Eau Claire Jazz Festival.
SCENE FROM THE STAGE. The RCU Theatre at the Pablo Center at the Confluence during the 2019 Eau Claire Jazz Festival.

The Pablo Center at the Confluence has a simple message for patrons who will attend performances at the venue this fall: Either get vaccinated or be able to demonstrate that you’re COVID-19 negative.

In addition, unless they are eating or drinking, patrons will be asked to wear a face mask at all times inside the venue.

The Pablo Center, which will reopen Sept. 11 after being closed for 18 months because of the coronavirus pandemic, announced Thursday that it would be enacting a series of safety measures. The rules will be reviewed on Nov. 1.

This isn’t a political statement; it’s the recognition that science has proven that vaccines protect from the worst potential outcomes of getting COVID-19

PABLO CENTER AT THE CONFLUENCE

“This isn’t a political statement; it’s the recognition that science has proven that vaccines protect from the worst potential outcomes of getting COVID-19,” the announcement read.

Jason Jon Anderson, the Pablo Center’s executive director, said the policy was created with advice from local public health authorities on how to best hold large indoor events safely. In addition, it reflects similar rules adopted by venues across the United States, as well as conditions mandated by touring performers and shows.

For example, nationwide concert and ticketing company Live Nation recently announced a similar policy for its venues and festivals, starting in October, while Broadway theaters in New York are requiring vaccinations (with a few exceptions).

“It comes down to patron experience and artist safety, and the ability to ensure we can produce the artists we’ve contracted,” Anderson said of the rules, noting certain performers are requiring masking or vaccine rules at the venues they visit. Not adopting such rules would mean canceling these shows, paying the artists’ fees, and refunding patrons’ tickets, too, he said.

Before the public announcement Thursday afternoon, ticketholders were notified of the policy. The immediate reaction was mixed, Anderson said, with some supporting the guidelines and others expressing frustration about them.

“This is not a popularity contest,” Anderson said. “It’s about having safe, wonderful events with the talent that people expect us to present.”

Anderson added that the Pablo Center plans to reconsider its COVID-19 guidelines every two months, and it could also ease them if conditions warrant. “We very much look forward to returning to the style of presentation of events that we all want to see,” he said.

The fourth season of performances at the Pablo Center, which was announced over the summer, including touring Broadway productions (Waitress, Rent, and STOMP), numerous long-standing favorites (Lorie Line, George Winston, Tonic Sol-Fa), Wisconsin originals (Chris Kroeze, Them Coulee Boys, Charlie Behrens), classical and jazz performances (such as Jazz at Lincoln Center with Wynton Marsalis), and comedy from the Found Footage Festival, Bill Engvall, and Whose Live Anyway?

Here’s the full announcement from the Pablo Center:

Updated COVID-19 Policy for Pablo Center at the Confluence

(August 26, 2021 - EAU CLAIRE, WIS) Pablo Center at the Confluence has been closed for 18 months, and we want to do everything in our power to never experience a devastating shutdown like that ever again. We owe it to our employees, patrons, artists, and our community to use whatever safety tools we have. At this point, our greatest measure is to ensure that all those in our venues either prove that they’ve been fully vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test that’s been taken within 72 hours of the event. If this is an issue for a ticket purchaser, we’ll provide them with a refund. Refunds can be received by emailing boxoffice@pablocenter.org. Email is preferred for the quickest response or by calling the box office between the hours of 8 a.m. - 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. These new procedures become effective starting on our first event, September 11 and will be reviewed again on November 1st, 2021.

We are pitching in and doing our part to help lessen the spread of COVID-19, our entire staff is fully vaccinated and will be wearing masks at all events. We have also installed Eagle X Pro Air-Ionizers, into each of our seven air handling units. Additionally, unless eating or drinking, all patrons must wear a mask at all times inside the venues regardless of vaccination status until further notice. Patrons who have a fever or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should stay home.

This isn’t a political statement; it’s the recognition that science has proven that vaccines protect from the worst potential outcomes of getting COVID-19. We need to recognize that COVID-19 will not be completely eradicated, much like the flu, but we can adapt to manage it so we can live our lives as safely as possible and protect those who aren’t eligible or able to be vaccinated. If you want to enjoy a performance with us and thousands of others, you will demonstrate that you’ve protected yourself, the people around you, and the community by taking the vaccine, or if you’re ineligible or choose not to be vaccinated, prove that you do not have COVID-19 when you join us.

We want to celebrate life with you for years to come. Be Safe. Vaccinate.

More info: https://www.pablocenter.org/health/

Find a vaccine near you: https://www.vaccines.gov/