PNC Bank Arts Center, BB&T Pavilion latest NJ venues with vaccine mandates

Daniel J. Munoz//August 16, 2021//

PNC Bank Arts Center, BB&T Pavilion latest NJ venues with vaccine mandates

Daniel J. Munoz//August 16, 2021//

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Two major venues in the Garden State – the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel and BB&T Pavilion Camden – are requiring patrons and staff to get the COVID-19 vaccine come Oct. 4.

“Vaccines are going to be your ticket back to shows, and as of Oct. 4 we will be following the model we developed for Lollapalooza and requiring this for artists, fans and employees at Live Nation venues and festivals everywhere possible in the U.S.,” Michael Rapino, the president and chief executive officer of Live Nation Entertainment, said in a weekend interview with NBC.

Live Nation manages events for both stadiums. Last week, Sayreville-based Starland Ballroom said it’s requiring its fans, staff and volunteers to get the shot by Oct. 1.

Those mandates come amid a steady flow of employers across New Jersey and the nation necessitating the jab for their staff and patrons as the delta variant surges almost exclusively among unvaccinated Americans.

Guns N' Roses at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 5, 2021.
Guns N’ Roses at MetLife Stadium on Aug. 5, 2021. – METLIFE STADIUM / KATARINA BENZOVA

The vaccine mandate enters murky legal grounds and has become a politically and culturally divisive topic. But state and federal laws generally allow employers to impose mandates, like for inoculations.

“We realize that some people might look at this as a dramatic step, but it’s the right one,” reads a statement last week from Jay Marciano, chairman and CEO of AEG Presents, which owns the 2,500-seat Sayreville stadium.

“[T]here might be some initial pushback, but I’m confident and hopeful that, at the end of the day, we will be on the right side of history and doing what’s best for artists, fans, and live event workers,” he continued.

But the BB&T Pavilion and PNC Bank Arts Center are orders of a larger magnitude, boasting 25,000 and 17,500 seats, respectively.

AEG and Live Nation have both promoted events for MetLife Stadium, an 82,500-seat venue in East Rutherford. On Aug. 5, they hosted 40,000 fans for a  Guns N’ Roses concert–the stadium’s first show since 2019.

Neither proof of a vaccination nor a negative COVID-19 test were required for the show, nor will they be required during the Aug. 27 preseason game between the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles, according to the venue’s website.

Other major venues and shows could soon require the jab, like the Shadow of the City music festival at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park on Sept. 11.

The band Bleachers, which is headlining the festival, said in a Twitter post that it’s “working with the promoters and venues now to make sure all shows are vaccine” and “negative test for entry for the Bleachers tour.”

“We’re not messing around. Every show will be as safe as possible.”

The Spaghetti Dinner Block Party on Aug. 26 in Hoboken will require the shots, as will Tech United’s Propelify Innovation Festival on Oct. 6. Both events are on the Hoboken waterfront. The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark enacted the same requirement back in April.

Starting on Aug. 10, It’s Greek to Me Ridgewood began requiring the vaccine for indoor dining.