Chicago demands vax proof and masks

Chicago demands vax proof and masks


norman lebrecht

August 17, 2021

All major Chicago venues will demand proof of vaccination before admitting ticket holders. Audiences will also be required to wear masks throughout the performance.

Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Lyric Opera have led the way with these conditions.

The Harris Theater and Court Theatre have followed suit.

The rules will remain in force until Decemeber 31.

UPDATE from CSO: While Lyric is requiring proof of vaccination as a condition for entry, the CSO and other venues in the city are also offering patrons the option to present proof of a negative Covid-19 test for entry.


  • Bystander says:

    I’d be curious what the vaccine requirements for the musicians are? They’re less distanced (and masked) than the audience will be.

    • John Kelly says:

      Sit upstairs and you won’t have to worry about that. Better sonics too…………

    • I don’t know their details but I’ll note that the law on management being able to require employees be vaccinated is not as clear as on management being able to require customers be vaccinated.

      It is potentially a union issue.

    • Max Raimi says:

      We are required either to have proof of vaccination or take a covid test a day or two before rehearsals begin each week. Unvaccinated musicians were required to mask even performing outdoors (I believe that all of our wind players are vaccinated), but vaccinated musicians could choose to not wear masks on the stage at Ravinia (although many of us kept masks on). All of us, save performing wind players, must mask indoors. As I understand it, the overwhelming majority of us have chosen to be vaccinated.

      • mike says:

        Let us see if cancer rates increase ten fold for the orchestra. My neighbor died from the vax, a friend was just told the vaccine is eating his pancreas, diagnosis cancer but you can find the horrific pancreas and kidney side effects studies through Europe and yet another friend looks emaciated liks he has AIDS. Good luck.

        • True North says:

          Not sure what vaccine your friends are getting, but these do not sound like typical side effects at all. I, and everyone I have spoken with, had only a mild fever and a sore arm for a day or two.

        • Ainslie says:

          “My neighbor died from the vax, a friend was just told the vaccine is eating his pancreas, diagnosis cancer but you can find the horrific pancreas and kidney side effects studies through Europe and yet another friend looks emaciated liks he has AIDS.”

          I call “bull”, Mike. Didn’t happen. Vaccines don’t “eat the pancreas”. Not this one. Not any one.

        • Bill says:

          You are a board-certified pathologist? Who did the autopsy? How has it been established that “the vaccine is eating his pancreas”? Sounds like something has eaten the contents of your cranium.

        • AstorEd says:

          uh huh…I call BS on this post.

        • Tom Clowes says:

          I seem to remember Tom Sawyer claiming touching a frog was bad luck, as proved by his friend who died just two years after touching one.
          My point is that, while these medical situations are tragic, the idea that they’re caused by an unrelated, potentially life-saving vaccine is totally, dangerously wrong.

        • Amos says:

          Do not take the Sputnik-V vaccine and you will be protected with no adverse events.

          • Saxon says:

            Not true. A very small number of people who get vaccinated will have a serious adverse reaction (not “eating the pancreas” though, that is a bizarre claim). But the risk of serious illness from Covid is a great deal higher.

        • Jeff Collins says:

          This comment is total garbage. There is no evidence that the covid vaccines cause cancer. GARBAGE!!!

      • Michelle says:

        My friend has a pig valve on his heart and can not get the vaccine, he also has natural immunity. His Jewish Grandmother died in the camps in Poland, to say that requiring him to show papers or see others show papers gives him anxiety is an understatement. Pardon me but all of you can GTH, I and everyone I know will never set foot in Orchestra Hall again. Addio….

        • AstorEd says:

          Except just about every major facility hosting live events are going to require proof of vaccination.

        • Amos says:

          Natural immunity to COVID-19? There are IgM cold agglutinins which naturally cross-react with a variety of Ags but not COVID-19. Based on the rest of your comments I assume the worst but what are you talking about especially in an individual receiving any form of immunosuppressive treatment(s) to prevent a xenograft rejection.

        • Anson says:

          The allergy to showing “papers” sounds quite troubling indeed. Does your friend have a problem showing a passport to travel? Showing a driver’s license to buy alcohol? Showing a ticket to get entry into a concert?

      • Michelle says:

        A Jewish friend of mine who had a Grandmother die in the camps in Poland is heartbroken….Asking for papers? Masks? you have no idea that Klaus Schwab is doing all of this…

      • Kyle says:

        Max, your comments are, of course, of great value in this regard. I wonder, though, why it would not be sufficient simply to state the rules that apply to the musicians rather than speculating as to your colleagues’ vaccination decisions and/or disclosing them. If I were a wind player in the orchestra, I would not appreciate you freely discussing my vaccination status in this public forum.

        Based on the rules you shared, it would not even be necessary for a musician to disclose their vaccination status to the orchestra if they choose not to, much less then public. A vaccinated musician could take a test rather than disclosing their status.

        I’m vaxxed and you can tell whomever you like.

        Warm regards.

        • Bill says:

          I believe that none of the CSO wind players live in Arkansas or Alabama, and thus do not feel pressure to hide the fact that they may have been vaccinated.

          • Kyle says:

            It has nothing to do with hiding one’s vaccination status, though people should feel free to not publicly disclose their status if they wish not to do so. It has to do with who has the right to disclose what is still considered to be private health information.

            For instance, reporting 90%+ of musicians are vaccinated with the remaining musicians complying with testing requirements is very different than reporting 100% of the wind section is vaccinated. The former can’t be assumed to apply to specific individuals, the later can.

    • Lyric worker says:

      At Lyric everyone working for the company must be fully vaccinated. From the orchestra pit to the chorus to the admin offices. Same for Chicago Opera Theatre orchestra.

      • Bystander says:

        Did this cause any issues with the unions? How are they balancing protecting the jobs of those unwilling to get vaccinated with the concerns of those uncomfortable with the idea of (or unwilling to be) working with the unvacc’d in small quarters for long periods of time?

        • AstorEd says:

          why would the union have an issue? They would want their members vaccinated, dead union members can’t pay dues….

          • Bill says:

            The instinctive reaction that any request from the people on the other side of the table must be accompanied by some work rule change or pay hike? The union management’s opinion and the opinion of the players who are union members may not be identical…

          • Saxon says:

            In a free society, people should be free to do things you don’t approve of, and even things that you might consider unwise.

        • Tom Phillips says:

          They are not Police or Fire Department unions so probably have a much greater sense of social responsibility in general.

    • Bill says:

      They are not mingling with the audience, however.

  • fflambeau says:


  • Sir David Geffen-Hall says:

    Knowing most of the musicians from professional connections, I would assume that most of them are vaccinated.

    I cannot think of a single musician who is an anti – vaxer. Perhaps one.

    That said, we have no idea of the Maestro (aka Boring) is vaccinated if he would subject himself to regular testing if he wasn’t.

    Fun times down on MI AVE. Check out some of the other orchestras that will have better policies like the Chicago Sinfonietta, Music of the Baroque and Lyric Opera.

  • Another CSOA Insider says:

    This report is inaccurate. The notification I received from the Chicago Symphony today indicated, in order to attend a concert this fall, one would have to be vaccinated OR show proof of a negative Covid-19 test (taken within 72 hours or 6 hours of the concert, depending on the type of test). Yes, masks required for all. A very sensible and respectful policy. I believe this is also the case for a large coalition of Chicago venues. Nicely coordinated.

    • mike says:

      wow, ok..hear any sirens downtown lately? I was just at Northwestern Hospital and there is nothing going on. PCR tests are fraudulent and all of you are ruining the city.

      • Ainslie says:

        Remove the tinfoil hat and come back to earth, Mike. “PCR tests are fraudulent”. Who is committing this supposed fraud? And for what reason?
        I’m sure you have answers, as does Marjorie Taylor Greene and all your Qanon brothers and sisters.

      • Amos says:

        Let me guess Bill Gates and Dr. Fauci are profiting from demanding PCR tests be carried out that are fraudulent as a pretext to track the movements of the test subjects? You can do better to try and endanger lives from COVID-19.

  • Michelle says:

    Just canceled buying a place in Chicago today and will never set foot in orchestra hall again. My friend has a pig valve in his heart and cannot get the vax, also he has natural immunity per his Doctor. Also he is Jewish and his Grandmother died in the camps. To say this has given him anxiety is an understatement. These passport lovers can gth.

    • V. Lind says:

      I’m sorry of your friend is anxious, but the implied comparison between Nazi gauleiters and concentration camp officers and the people who run a symphony hall during a pandemic is odious.

      This has nothing to do with round-ups or exclusions from social affairs in the way that his grandmother suffered. And anyone who put such ideas into the heads of his people ought to be taken out and … well, you choose.

      It’s disgraceful that fools of this sort have created a mythology by which getting vaccinated in order to prevent the spread of disease should have become a political issue.

    • Max Raimi says:

      Your friend can attend concerts (and all other public indoor performances in Chicago) with a negative covid test 72 hours or less old. As someone with relatives who died at Auschwitz, I find comparing this to the Holocaust obscene, and obscenely stupid.

    • Tom Phillips says:

      Its been called “Symphony Center” since at least 1998 so chances are you have not gone in all that time and the Orchestra will not be missing you. The rest of your post (including the earlier one) is thoroughly unspeakable in its direct similarity to how other anti-Vaxxers like your hero Marjorie Taylor Greene compare vital public health care measures to the Nazi Holocaust.

  • David Sanders says:

    No, it’s proof of vaccination OR a negative Covid test (PCR test taken within 72 hours, or antigen test taken within 6 hours of concert start time). All patrons also will be required to wear masks.

  • Pam says:

    As long as there is an alternative – PCR test or antigen before concerts all is fine. Everyone should have the right to decide but be mindful of keeping others and themselves safe. And again, why we insist so much on vaccination? Injected or infected you do spread the virus. Let’s think for a second, why we see such increase in cases now? We were containing the situation with the masks and no, it’s not because non vaccinated spread the virus more than vaccinated lol. In my opinion, people got the shots and thought they can remove their masks now. Well it is clear that this gene therapy can maybe help lessen the symptoms if you get sick but does nothing to prevent the spread. Now we have more information on how to treat sick people so we will hopefully see decrease in fatalities. We just have to stay away from politicizing this issue and start thinking for ourselves.

    • Saxon says:

      Given that someone who is vaccinated can have Covid, then why not insist that everyone gets tested for Covid before the concert regardless of their vaccine status?

  • Guest1 says:

    Good! It’s an older audience, more prone to complications. Glad the CSO is showing them some respect and hopefully they’ll now feel safe to attend, at the sake of a minuscule amount of discomfort for everyone else. Also, brass players kind of need their lungs and covid’s not so good for that.

  • Nicholas Ennos says:

    My brother Professor Richard Ennos recently retired as Professor of Genetics at Edinburgh University. According to him anyone who takes this jab is likely to die within two to three years from autoimmune disease.

    • HR says:

      Huh? Well, that’s a new one for me. I had only heard about the fears of tainted semen. Is this retired brother working with anyone? Is his assertion based on any studies? Do geneticists know more about viruses than epidemiologists? I thought most of the tinfoil hat people were in the U.S.

    • Amos says:

      Please thank your brother for opting to retire rather than continuing to implicate Edinburgh University in his academic/scientific malpractice.

    • Bill says:

      Yeah, sure. A plant ecologist is an expert on human autoimmune disease.

      “ My research is concerned with the integration of genetics into ecology and the practical applications of this knowledge in ecological management. I work on plants, principally forest trees, and the fungi with which they interact. Current projects explore patterns of adaptation in native tree species and their management consequences, and the use of genomic data to understand the origins of the current outbreak of Dothistroma needle blight on native Scots pine.”

      Are you still claiming that Hiroshima and Nagasaki were firebombed, and that nuclear weapons are a fiction?

    • R says:

      I was very glad to acquaint myself with your brother’s views in radio interview. Spot on, erudite scientist. He will be vindicated. It was worth suffering the uneducated fools to reach your comment. My gratitude for his courage to express truth.

  • Osterholm is God says:

    We need 100% mandatory vaccination for all people on this planet and vaccine passports to leave the house.