Spoleto Festival USA announces vaccination-only COVID-19 policy – Charleston Scene

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Updated: February 2, 2022 @ 11:32 am
Caleb Teicher & Company performs at the College of Charleston’s Rivers Green on opening weekend of Spoleto Festival USA 2021 on the custom stage that was built as part of the festival’s efforts to mount performances outdoors during the pandemic. File/Spoleto Festival USA/Provided 

Caleb Teicher & Company performs at the College of Charleston’s Rivers Green on opening weekend of Spoleto Festival USA 2021 on the custom stage that was built as part of the festival’s efforts to mount performances outdoors during the pandemic. File/Spoleto Festival USA/Provided 
Ahead of its program introduction next week for the 2022 Spoleto Festival USA, the organization said its updated COVID-19 policy will require full vaccinations for anyone working on, performing in or watching festival events.
The policies, which apply to all staff, artists, volunteers, members of the press and audience members, will require proof of full COVID-19 vaccinations, including booster shots for those who are eligible, in order to enter any Spoleto Festival USA performances.
Negative tests will not be acceptable for admission, the organization said. A recent COVID-19 infection does not exempt the vaccine requirement.
Masks also must be worn during all indoor performances.
“Mounting a full-scale in-person performing arts festival requires prioritizing our community’s health and well-being. The future of our Festival depends on it,” Mena Mark Hanna, general director of Spoleto Festival USA, said in a statement.
“Vaccinations, including boosters, are the best defense against serious and fatal COVID-19 infections. Spoleto gathers artists and audience members from around the globe, and we are setting policies that allow for this gathering on such a scale.” 
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Spoleto Festival USA has taken a safety-first stance, often setting the tone for the local cultural sector.
After canceling its 2020 festival, it emerged in 2021 in a scaled-down format, working with MUSC’s Back2Business initiative to establish recommended protocols at that time.
The festival also moved most of the performances outdoors, which involved constructing a custom stage on the College of Charleston’s Rivers Green space behind the Marlene & Nathan Addlestone Library for its dance performances. That stage will not be used for the 2022 festival.
The updated policies for the 2022 festival come ahead the festival’s program announcement, which is set for Feb. 11. Tickets become available to the public at 10 a.m. Feb. 22.
“I look forward to seeing everyone at a full Festival this spring and encourage our community to get vaccinated and boosted,” Hanna said.
A list of frequently asked questions regarding the festival’s COVID-19 policy can be found at spoletousa.org/covid-19-policies-and-updates.  For more information on the festival, visit spoletousa.org.



Follow Maura Hogan on Twitter at @msmaurahogan.
Maura Hogan is the arts critic at The Post and Courier. She has previously written about arts, culture and lifestyle for The New York Times, Gourmet, Garden & Gun, among other publications.

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