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For NEO music venues, COVID-19 concerns still run the show despite vaccination or testing

NYT: Cleveland Orchestra 'may be America's best'
Posted at 11:15 PM, Nov 15, 2021

CLEVELAND — Whether it’s a rock and roll show at the Grog Shop or a classical performance at Severance Hall, the energy of live music is contagious.

“That’s my happy place,” said Nicole Newman who attended the Grog Shop’s Monday night Nada Surf concert.

Andre Gremillet is the president of The Cleveland Orchestra. He said it’s an amazing feeling to have the orchestra back at Severance Hall.

“Whatever music it is, just hearing great live music is really essential to people,” he said.

The Cleveland Orchestra requires patrons to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test that has been completed within 72 hours prior to entering the venue. Patrons also have to wear masks.

The protocol is similar to other venues throughout the area.

“We've had very, very little pushback, especially from our regular audience members and patrons, and I think we did a pretty good job at communicating with them prior to the first performances,” said Gremillet.

The Cleveland Orchestra has even required all of the 100+ employees and musicians at Severance Hall to be vaccinated. Gremillet said since the start of the fall season, it’s been going smoothly. But said concerns of COVID-19 can still run the show.

“It was one of our wind or brass players who tested positive,” he said.

The Cleveland Orchestra canceled two shows over the weekend due to the musician testing positive.

“It was a breakthrough infection, which we know happens, which is why we have these protocols in place,” said Gremillet.

He hopes the protocol shows concert goers that they are safe inside the facility.

“It shows you how seriously we take the health of our players, our staff and of course, our audience members. It's very important for us to know that when people show up, at Severance and in our concert hall that they are in as safe an environment as possible.”