San Diego

San Diego Event Venues Preparing for New Mega Event Rules

NBC Universal, Inc.

San Diego's most popular event spaces are preparing for new proof of vaccination requirements at upcoming "mega-events."

Indoor events in the state of California with 1,000 guests or more will require ticketholders to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test beginning Sept. 1. The rule, which at the moment is the benchmark for events with 5,000 or more guests, was announced Thursday by the state Department of Public Health (CDPH).

Now, San Diego event spaces are making workflow adjustments in advance of the change.

After 15 months of shutdowns during the pandemic, California is fully opening the economy on June 15, including mega events like concerts and sporting events— but there will be some restrictions. Here’s what you need to know.

"It's necessary and I think everybody should protect themselves and other people," San Diego resident Lucy Rojas said.

For some of the region's small venues that hold more than 1,000 but less than 5,000 guests, the rule change brings an entirely new workflow.

"We had been talking to our clients about that possibility. We didn't know exactly where that number would be," San Diego Convention Center spokesperson Maren Dougherty said.

Because of the pandemic and international travel restrictions, 30 of the scheduled events at the San Diego Convention Center between now and Christmas will have fewer than 5,000 people. 

A spokesperson for the San Diego Civic Theater and Balboa Theater told NBC 7 she's been preparing for it, and she's asking visitors to do the same by showing up an hour early and expecting a wait to get through the front door.

Pechanga Arena said the venue will follow state guidelines, according to a spokesperson. The first event scheduled after the Sept. 20 deadline is Hot Wheels Monster Trucks Live, which will attract many fans who aren't yet old enough for a vaccine.

Dougherty said their clients can deal with verifying vaccination status at the front door or ahead of time.

"For some of them, these documents are uploaded in advance when they register. Others will have an opportunity for their attendees to present that documentation when they actually get here on-site," she said.

World-famous San Diego Comic-Con will host a small-scale, in-person event this November. The pop culture event is usually held in July but, like in 2020, the 2021 event this past July went virtual. The summer event usually draws 130,000 people over a long weekend in July, but Dougherty said they don't have an attendance estimate yet for the scaled-down Comic-Con event that's supposed to be happening in November.

Vaccinated residents in California can receive a digital copy of their proof-of-vaccine card. Click here to sign up and receive a QR code and digital vaccination record.

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