In response to the Delta variant causing COVID-19 case numbers to surge across the country, the artist recently upped his safety requirements for his concerts, requiring fans provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the show.
On Tuesday, Jerry MacDonald, president and CEO of The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, said in a statement, “The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion fully supports and commends Jason Isbell and his team for their commitment to the health of their fans, crew, band and venue staff. We are all on the same page here and we agree with what Jason Isbell would like to implement, but there is a timing issue. To implement a major change in policy such as what is requested will take more time than we have.”
Isbell isn’t alone in his new safety standards. That was the deal in Chicago this month at Lollapalooza. It’s also the plan for 60,000 concert goers in New York City next month for the Global Citizen concert.
Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist at UTHealth School of Public Health, says at large, busy events, with this highly contagious Delta strain, stricter safety protocols will help.
"Yes, it will certainly cut down the possibility of transmission quite a bit," Dr. Troisi said.
Dr. Troisi added she hopes to see more artists and venues follow suit.
“Absolutely. I hope so. I think they have an obligation to protect both the participants, the audience, as well as the performer," she said.
Houston has seen testing at events before. This past November, comedian Dave Chappelle performed at the House of Blues where all guests had to pass a rapid COVID test before entering.