Updated: Aug 28, 2021
A few folks have asked us about why we've chosen the COVID precautions we have for our 2021 backyard concerts. In no small part, our decisions have been made on gut instinct based on a healthy dose of science.
Our decisions are also based on the belief that our audience wants/needs to be comfortable, not worried, in order to enjoy the music. Everyone has their own sensitivity to risk and level of caution and so, in cases like this, it is often best to go with the plan that serves even the most cautious.
Proof of Full Vaccination
The first, and easiest decision, was to require all attendees be fully vaccinated. I must say that the response from our audience and bands alike has been very favorable to this. The Manitoba Health QR code system has worked well to prove folks vaccination status and has been a blessing in our opinion. Further, it really hasn't added any significant hassle to getting through the gate.
Perhaps the question we get asked most often is 'Why, if you require full vaccination, are you still safe distancing?' We seat by self-declared bubbles to maintain safe distancing. We also ask the bands to play one long set to reduce the mingling that would naturally occur during an intermission. Our decision is very much about audience ease of mind - bubbles allow you to sit with folks you know and trust and to not get too close to those you don't know.
But there is science behind this decision too. This question inherently seems to assume that the COVID vaccines are 100% effective. The fact is, as we are hearing more and more about each day now about 'breakthrough' cases as the Delta variant builds into a fourth wave, fully vaccinated people can still catch COVID and fully vaccinated people with COVID can still infect others. In fact, Manitoba released new figures just today citing that, to date, 444 fully vaccinated folks have caught COVID, 47 have ended up in hospital, and 11 have died. As a percentage of the vaccinated population these numbers are low but they are not insignificant, so our thinking is that why wouldn't we take a little extra caution to minimize this risk further?
Masks While Not Seated
Really this goes hat-in-hand with safe distancing. Wearing a mask provides some protection when you're not in your bubble, therefore not safely distanced from others,
Wits End wants our audiences and band members to feel as safe as one can be under the circumstances. The fact that you've chosen to come out to listen to or play music in backyard signals that you're willing to take a reasonable amount of risk. Maybe our precautions are overkill - we get that - but we also know that your safety is of primary concern to us and very necessary for you to wash away the worries of the day and just sit back and enjoy great music.
We hope you agree.
Ian & Trudy Mattey
Here are a couple of articles you might find interesting: