Two of the area’s busiest venues for live music have announced new policies: No vaccine, no test, no entry.

Stuart’s Opera House in Nelsonville and The Union in Uptown Athens both are requiring proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test result as conditions of entry.

Both venues will accept either a valid vaccination card or a legible photograph of it, along with valid identfication. In lieu of vaccination, patrons can show a negative COVID-19 test result from within the previous 48 hours (The Union) or 72 hours (Stuart’s).

Home COVID tests are acceptable at The Union, according to its Facebook page.

“We were closed for 14 months. We don’t want to cancel any more shows,” reads the announcement on The Union’s Facebook page, posted last Thursday morning. “We are going to do everything we can do to keep safely hosting shows.”

The Union’s policy went into effect on Friday, Aug. 13, the day after the post went up. Despite the short notice, owner Richard Linscott said the change has gone smoothly.

“Not really any pushback,” he said in an email. “We’re happy and thankful that everyone has been so supportive and understanding!” (As of Tuesday morning, comments on the Facebook post were generally in favor of the requirement, with a handful of references to Nazis and communism.)

Stuart’s policy takes effect Aug. 23, 10 days after the announcement. In its original announcement, Stuart’s advised that anyone who did not want to comply with the policy was “welcome to transfer their tickets to guests who are fully vaccinated or willing to provide a negative COVID-19 test result.”

On Tuesday, Aug.16, however, the opera house issued an update to its policy offering refunds to those who purchased tickets for a Stuart’s event before Friday, Aug. 13.

In addition to proof of vaccination or a negative test result, Stuart’s guests must remain masked while inside the facility. Stuart’s staff and crew must wear masks as well, according to spokesperson Chloe Musick.

“Our policy includes everyone in the building,” she wrote in an email to the NEWS. “People can unmask to take a drink and artists can unmask to perform on stage.”

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