Concert venue

Edmonton concert hall wants vaccine passport to avoid canceling more live shows

EDMONTON (CityNews) The owners of an entertainment venue in downtown Edmonton were planning to have their first live show last week. Instead, they were forced to cancel.

Tyson Boyd of the Starlite Room says that with an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Alberta, the only sure thing to do was to undo the whole thing.

“This week we’ve seen cases jump to almost 100 in intensive care,” Boyd said. “We saw the artists get nervous, we could see the audience getting cautious. So we chose what we thought was the best approach.

Alberta recorded an average of more than 1,200 new cases of COVID per day over the Labor Day long weekend. The province reported 602 people hospitalized for the disease on Tuesday, including 137 in intensive care.

Alberta Health Services says intensive care units are now at 87 percent of capacity.

Boyd and other site owners appeared alongside the provincial opposition NPD on Tuesday, calling on the province to implement a vaccine passport system so that vaccinated Albertans can attend the events.

Boyd also says the province’s 10pm curfew is only making matters worse.

“A lot of times we don’t start seeing people until 9 or 10 am,” he said. “We are always able to deliver food and alcohol, so it’s kind of like serving house parties or gatherings of people.”


Boyd wonders why people can’t drink in his establishment, but delivery men are free to enter a stranger’s house.

“We have procedures, we have security protocols, we can kind of keep people in a more structured environment than just walking into someone’s party.”

With the wage and rental subsidies expiring, Boyd says there must be answers for himself and other site owners. He thinks a vaccine passport is the way to go.

“We tried to put things in place very quickly after this July 1 announcement,” he said. “And to cancel these shows now when we could have had a vaccine passport, it hurts.”

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