New Ticketmaster Plan Would Check Patron’s COVID Status Before Attending Concerts

Published on November 13, 2020

A tentative Ticketmaster plan would check the COVID-19 vaccination status of patrons. The plan would also verify if patrons had been tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of attendance. Pfizer announced recently that its COVID-19 vaccine has a 90 percent success rate, although the vaccine has yet to be distributed to the general public.

How It Would Work

According to a Billboard report, this plan would consist of two steps. The first step is that, after a patron purchases a ticket to a concert, they would be required to verify if they’d either had a COVID-19 vaccination or if they had tested negative for COVID-19 within 24-72 hours before the concert.

The amount of time patrons would have to test negative before the concert would be determined by regional health authorities. It would be up to the patron to instruct the lab conducting the test to a “health pass” company, such as IBM or CLEAR. That company would verify that the patron was either vaccinated or tested negative, and then pass that information along to Ticketmaster. At that point Ticketmaster would essentially grant the patron access to the event, given the all clear.

But What About Privacy?

The tentative plan would be in strict accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. HIPAA protects you from your medical information being released without your consent. Ticketmaster would not keep the patrons medical information on file, but only receive verification from the health pass companies that patrons had been cleared to attend the event on a certain date.

When Is This Plan Happening?

Currently there is no FDA approved COVID-19 vaccine so a plan like this may take a least a year, if not more, although that has yet to be confirmed. Ticketmaster would utilize digital ticketing and a new system called SmartEvent. SmartEvent would enable Ticketmaster and patrons with delayed entry into the venue, enforce social distancing and conduct contact tracing.

Ticketmaster also has a notification on their event listings if a certain event is utilizing pod seating. This allows fans to buy a group of tickets together (say if you’re going with friends and family) while still being socially distanced from other groups. You do have to buy all of the tickets within the pod if you choose this option, but you can see which spots are available just like buying normal tickets on the Ticketmaster website.

The Importance of Buying Straight From the Source

With this tentative new plan in mind, now it is more important than ever to realize that the best way to enjoy an event is to buy tickets straight from the source. For example, many patrons at the box office I used to work at would purchase tickets from third party sites. Not only were they typically horribly overpriced, I technically had no record of the patron who was there actually attending the event on file in the ticketing system.

So if they needed assistance with reprinting tickets or wanted a refund or a seat-change I could not grant their request because they had purchased said tickets from a third party source.

Of course there are reputable third party sites like StubHub and more, but it will be interesting to see how Ticketmaster plans to tackle the third-party ticket reselling issue when it comes to implementing this COVID-19 verification plan. How do they verify fans that didn’t buy straight from Ticketmaster? Bottom line is that the health and safety of fans and event employees is more important than anything else. Stay tuned for updates.

Katherine Stinson is an award-winning journalist and Staff Reporter at Grit Daily News, where she covers Texas and Southern states' startup and entrepreneurship news. Based in San Antonio, Texas, she also contributes to ScreenRant, Outlander TV News, and San Antonio Magazine.

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