Austin, TX

Austin City Limits festival updates health plan for next weeks event

Ash Jurberg

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UPDATE: September 21st

Today festival organizers have announced the updated protocols in place for the two-weekend event. The adjustments come following an approval issued by Austin Public Health.

Earlier story

First, it was Willie Nelson. Now it is the Austin City Limits Festival. As the COVID cases continue to rise in Texas and hospitals across Texas are overwhelmed, some businesses are wanting proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result from their patrons.

Last month one of the most significant events in Texas- the ACL music festival announced that "A printed copy of a negative COVID-19 test result will be required to attend ACL Festival 2021. The negative COVID-19 printed test result must be obtained within 72 hours (3 days) of attending ACL Festival."

They followed this post with a second announcement stating that "information related to masks will be released closer to the festival dates."

The Lollapalooza music festival held in Chicago recently had similar requirements. It is worth noting that despite the fears the festival could become a super spreading event, it wasn't.

The post got mixed reactions on social media. While many people applauded this announcement in light of the COVID-19 crisis in Texas, others were angry and were seeking refunds.

It is yet another stage in the interesting war on masks and vaccination proof being waged in Texas. This week two restaurants in Austin were threatened with the loss of their liquor license for requiring proof of vaccination for customers. As a result, they had to reverse their policy.

Texas Gov Greg Abbott has been firm that no business can request proof of vaccination for entry. In addition, a statement was sent from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to businesses again advising them that the state government office has the power to take away liquor licenses from companies that are not in compliance with the bill (SB968). SB 968 was authored by state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, who is firmly against vaccine passports.

“TABC wants to remind businesses in Texas that state law now prohibits businesses from requiring customers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination. TABC may require compliance with this law as a condition of holding a license, permit, certificate, or other authorization.”

Last year ACL was forced to cancel their event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. If the cases in Texas continue to rise, there is a chance it could be canceled again. One of the headline acts- Stevie Nicks, has already dropped out of performing at the festival due to COVID concerns.

ACL is scheduled across two weekends and is held in Zilker Park. The music festival's first weekend is planned for Oct. 1-3, and the second is Oct. 8-10. The headline acts include Miley Cyrus, Duran Duran, and Billie Eilish. The event sold out in record time when tickets were released earlier this year.

Readers, what do you think? Do you agree with the policy being implemented for ACL this year? Or do you think it is a restriction of freedom? Are you attending the event, and if so, are you comfortable wearing a mask at an outdoor concert?

Do let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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