Austin musician nonprofit creates petition to require vaccine verification at Texas venues


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Some Austin area musicians are making a push for vaccine verifications.

The Austin Texas Musicians Association launched a petition requesting music venues ask for vaccine proof, or to wear a mask.

“I was like many of my friends who were vaccinated, and I felt it was safe to perform again,” said Kevin Russell.

Kevin Russell, the lead singer of Shinyribs, got COVID while performing at an indoor venue 10 days ago. He says several of his friends in the Austin music world have also come down with COVID-19 in recent days.

Kevin Russell and his band Shinyribs

“I don’t want another shutdown situation to happen,” said Russell. “In my option, unvaccinated people are spreading it, and that vaccinated people are getting it.”

He and the nonprofit Austin Texas Musicians Association think they have a solution to COVID spread in venues. The group has launched a petition with more than 200 signatures, calling for staff, musicians and fans to show proof of vaccine at all Texas venues, and if not, to wear a mask.

“Thinking through it, I think the only way to mitigate this is to ask for proof of vaccinations and if you don’t want to do that, then just wear a mask,” said Russell.

It’s a movement management at the Elephant Room in Austin says they would consider.

The venue reopened on June 22, but 15 days later it closed after four staff members tested positive for COVID. Whether or not they would enforce the vaccine passports depends on several factors.

“You cross into political ideology on that, but if all bars and venues decided to do it, then that would be the way to do it,” Elephant Room Management Michael Mordecai said.

If the petition gets enough signatures, the Austin Texas Musicians group plans to send it to all the Texas venues to let them know where the majority of people stand.

Russell says he’s performing at a New York winery next week that recently instituted a proof-of-vaccine policy.

In San Francisco, an alliance representing 300 bar owners announced a proof-of-vaccination plan on Monday — though it’s more of a recommendation.

In April, Gov. Greg Abbott banned leaders of state agencies and other taxpayer-funded entities from requiring vaccine passports.

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