Venues adjust policies following Monroe County COVID recommendations

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Some events and venues in Monroe County and surrounding areas are adjusting their COVID-19 policies amid rising case numbers. Others are not making any changes to current policies.

The 10th annual Rochester Fringe Festival is back to in-person this year, with some changes. Announced Thursday, you’ll need to be fully vaccinated to see a Fringe show indoors. Organizers say that the festival will be checking for proof of vaccination at indoor shows and events.

"The reason that we did it was because we have actually hired the country’s leading event safety expert and we’ve really tried to keep track of the science and we don’t want to mess around with Delta,” said Erica Fee, Fringe Festival’s executive producer.

The festival, known for its eclectic assortment of theater, dance, music, and performance art, will have a mix of indoor and outdoor performances. Some longtime partner venues will be out of the mix this year, and some new venues are coming on board. The JCC’s Hart Theatre is an example of a new venue where you’ll need to show proof of vaccination to enter. The festival’s famous Spiegeltent is another.

"The majority of our venues are indoors but we also are moving some of our activities, particularly for children, we are moving them outdoors to keep kids safe," Fee said.

The 12-day festival will have people at each indoor venue checking to make sure guests are fully vaccinated. Fee explains which “proof” will be accepted as of now.

"It will be the excelsior pass, a CDC card, similar to what they were doing at some of our other venues and some of the other venues in town,” Fee said.

Other large event venues in the area are taking a different approach. For example, CMAC in Ontario County said the following:

"Proof of COVID-19 vaccinations and/or negative COVID-19 tests will not be required for admission to CMAC this summer.
CMAC continues to stay vigilant with the current NYS guidelines and have added many sanitizing and washing stations while providing signage in/outside the venue advising that all non-vaccinated patrons continue to wear masks."

Party In The Park, the weekly concert series hosted by the City of Rochester at Martin Luther King Jr. Park throughout the summer, will require unvaccinated guests to wear masks, but will not be looking for proof of vaccination. It’s operating on the “honor system.”

In the sports world, the Rochester Red Wings are recommending that all fans wear masks in indoor spaces like bathrooms, suites, and the gift shop, no matter what. They have not announced plans to check for proof of vaccination at this point.

NASCAR announced this week that all their race tracks will require masks indoors regardless of vaccination status. That starts this weekend at Watkins Glen International. Masks will not be required outdoors.

The Fringe Festival will announce its full lineup and list of venues on Aug. 18. The festival will begin on Sept. 14, the same day that Broadway is set to reopen for fully vaccinated patrons.