Deep Dive: Towards “Normalization” of COVID-19 as an Acceptable Risk

Alan Brown, James Doeser, 2021

Guest speaker James Doeser, a distinguished UK arts researcher and evaluator of the Contagious Cities initiative, offers his views on COVID-19 as one of many risks that arts goers take each time they go out. The follow-up Q&A is facilitated by Victoria Bailey and Alan Brown.

With venues reopening and 90% to 95% of arts audiences vaccinated, we have entered a new stage of the pandemic. A significant share of the audience, despite being vaccinated, is still concerned about contracting the COVID-19 virus. The recent turnabout in infection rates among unvaccinated Americans, driven by the Delta variant, is fueling this caution. It appears that the virus will be with us for a long time.

Against this backdrop, audiences must gain comfort with policies and practices that acknowledge the reality of a protracted—perhaps even indefinite—risk of COVID-19 transmission at cultural events. This session is offered specifically to inform sector discussions about proof-of-vaccine requirements, masks and other protocols, surcharges for venue safety, and finding language to signal that COVID-19 is both an ongoing and acceptable risk.

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