AUSTIN (KXAN) — ACL Fest organizers will require attendees have proof of a negative COVID-19 test or vaccination to enter this year.
Organizers made the announcement via Twitter at 10 a.m. Thursday. The first weekend of the music festival is scheduled for Oct. 1-3, and the second is Oct. 8-10.
The proof of a negative COVID-19 test must be a printed copy obtained within 72 hours (three days) prior to the date of attendance. Those who are fully vaccinated can show proof of that in lieu of a negative test result.
Events like this also have permits from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. The agency has already stopped a couple of local restaurants from requiring the same proof ACL is now requiring, because the commission says it goes against state rules.
TABC told KXAN it can’t comment on ACL’s move until it meets with organizers, which it says will happen soon.
“I do want to stress that as TABC meets with businesses, we’re working with them to help them voluntarily comply with the statute. It’s not a situation in which TABC threatens to pull a business’ permit for a one-time offense; we understand there are questions about the new law, and we’re doing our best to answer those questions and address business’ concerns.”Chris Porter, TABC spokesperson
Jason Quick has been going to the festival since it began and was excited to be back this year. But he and his husband started second guessing the event after attending a different concert in Austin last week.
“It was kind of horrifying,” he said. “Nobody was wearing a mask, and it was like, ‘okay, this is like a lot of people.’ And we started freaking out.”
They canceled their hotel for ACL weekend that night.
He says the new safety measures are better than nothing but still not enough to bring him back. He feels not going altogether is the responsible thing to do.
“It’s a real bummer. I’m really looking forward to going again but with everything spiking, I just, I don’t feel at all comfortable,” said Quick, who is now selling his two tickets.
He wishes festival organizers would offer refunds and hopes next year will be back to normal.
Organizers said they will release more information related to masks closer to the event.
Also on Thursday, organizers announced Austin Kiddie Limits for 2021 is canceled. They hope the event makes a comeback next year.
Organizers did say children 10 and younger will be admitted to Austin City Limits for free with a ticket-holding adult. You must also show proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test for your child if you plan to bring them along, too.
Preparing for another influx of COVID-19 testing
Rannon Ching, pharmacist-in-charge at Tarrytown Pharmacy, says they’ve already been dealing with an increase in COVID-19 testing. They’ve gone from 20-40 tests a day in June to more than 300 now.
“We saw a lot of countries increase their requirements for testing, so some people that just required proof of vaccination now require a test,” he explained.
He’s expecting another surge as schools reopen and more events like ACL announce requirements.
“School districts requiring testing, and then now, with the ACL announcing as well — you know, different events,” he said.
Ching says they scaled back testing from five sites to one. They are now back up to two sites to handle the increase and are continuing to ramp up.
“Basically, we’re hiring up more staff, extending hours and providing more testing options,” he said.
Walgreens says demand for COVID-19 testing has continued and doubled chainwide from June to July. CVS said it could not provide that data.