Should Pittsburgh-Area Venues Offer Vaccinated-Only Sections for Spectators?

Allegheny County is considering the concept for some of its summer events.
Pitt Stadium

PHOTO BY RICHARD COOK

“Vaccinated? Let me show you to your seat.” That could be the future greeting by ushers at various Allegheny venues this summer.

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald wants sports and entertainment venues to create special sections for vaccinated spectators. He says it’s something the county is already considering for its summer concert series at Hartwood Acres and South Park.

“I would encourage all of our sports teams, all of our venues, theaters, the opera, the symphony, the Playhouse, etc., to go ahead and think about the same thing,” he said during a virtual news briefing Wednesday.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have already petitioned the state for permission to create vaccinated and non-vaccinated sections at PPG Paints Arena.

“I think now that we’re getting two-thirds of the population with at least one shot in the arm and the significant amount of people who’ve been vaccinated, those folks can feel safe when they’re together,” Fitzgerald said. “They don’t need to be six feet apart. They don’t need to be wearing their masks if everybody’s been vaccinated.”

Dr. Amesh Adalja, who is based in Pittsburgh and is a senior scholar at Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, says the same technology used to sell tickets with QR codes sent to a customer’s phone could be employed to prove vaccination status.

“This is a good move,” Adaja told the Trib. “I think it really reflects the confidence we have in the vaccines and how vaccines are a path to reclaiming your life.”

 

At the same briefing, Allegheny County Health Director Dr. Debra Bogen says the number of COVID cases and the positivity rate have dropped in recent weeks. Cases are down from an average of 400 a day two weeks ago to 275 last week. The positivity rate stands at 6.9%, down from nearly 9% earlier this month.

Bogen says nearly two-thirds of the county’s adult population has received at least one shot of the vaccine.

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