A guide to proof-of-vaccine requirements for Columbus’ music venues

Here’s what we know at the moment; as always, these policies are subject to change

Andy Downing
Columbus Alive
Patrons queue up before a concert featuring country musician Cody Jinks on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at Express Live

It’s a confusing time to be a concertgoer in Columbus, with constantly shifting proof-of-vaccination rules and masking requirements differing from venue to venue.

While a handful of venues require a vaccine card, or at least a photo of one (Spacebar, Dirty Dungarees), other places allow attendees to submit a negative COVID test in its place. But even then the rules can vary, with different venues requiring the test to have taken place anywhere from 48 to 72 hours prior to the event.

With all of this in mind, we compiled the most recent information we could find on COVID admission policies for Columbus venues.

A word of warning: These requirements could change at any given time, so be sure to double-check the venue’s website prior to your event. Also, some venues have not been included here because policies could not be located online and/or we have not yet received a reply to inquiries placed to management. We will continue to update this guide as the landscape changes and new information becomes available.

Update: On Friday, Sept. 10, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther signed an executive order mandating that people wear masks when visiting publicly accessible indoor spaces. Like previous statewide mandates, the new order allows people to remove masks when eating and drinking, but it's best to check with each venue regarding when and where it's permissible to take masks off. (Performers are exempt from the city's new mask order.)

(This post was last updated on Monday, Sept. 13, 2021.)

A&R Music Bar

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Yes, taken within 72 hours of the event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

A&R Bar, along with the city’s three other PromoWest-owned venues — the Basement, Newport Music Hall and Express Live — is operating under a policy put in place by promoter AEG Presents, which acquired PromoWest in 2018. As part of this policy, beginning on Oct. 1 a negative COVID-19 test will no longer be accepted for entry. The October date was chosen to afford concertgoers the time to reach full vaccination, and the policy will only be limited as required by law. (Exceptions will be made for those who can’t be vaccinated due to medical or religious reasons, and PromoWest will provide a form on its website that can be presented upon admission.)

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Ace of Cups

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Yes, taken within 48 hours of the event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

Ace of Cups announced its updated admission policy in an early August post on social media, writing of COVID: “The war is real, and it’s not over just yet.”

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Athenaeum Theatre

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Yes, taken within 72 hours of the event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

Local promoter Celebrity Etc., which handles most of the booking at the Athenaeum, along with regular shows at venues such as Rumba Cafe and Skully’s Music-Diner, among others, recently announced its proof of vaccination policy, which goes into effect on Sept. 1 for all of its shows. See a rundown of Celebrity Etc. events here.

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The Basement

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Yes, taken within 72 hours of the event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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Dirty Dungarees Laundromat & Bar

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? No

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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Double Happiness

Proof of vaccination required? No

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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Express Live

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Yes, taken within 72 hours of the event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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King of Clubs

Proof of vaccination required? No

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

While most of the city’s venues have taken a proactive approach to the coronavirus in reopening, King of Clubs has gone the other route, making its lack of COVID policy clear in a Facebook post earlier this month. “For the past week or so we have been getting inquiries about our venue policies concerning mask and vaccination requirements. The answer is simple and easy, WE HAVE NO POLICY,” the venue wrote. “We will follow the mandates required by law but will not restrict our supporters with our own rules and potentially overzealous reach on attendees personal freedoms.”

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Lincoln Theatre

Proof of vaccination required? Varies by event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

The Lincoln Theatre joined the rest of the venues owned and operated by CAPA (Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, Southern Theatre and the Riffe Center theatres including the Davidson Theatre) in requiring all patrons, staff and volunteers to wear a mask at all times while inside, regardless of a person's vaccination status. Free, disposable masks will be available to patrons upon request. While CAPA is not instituting a proof-of-vaccination policy, it will accommodate events and performers who request one, so check the venue's website in advance of any shows you plan on attending.

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Nationwide Arena

Proof of vaccination required? No (with an asterisk)

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

In recent weeks, mega promoters AEG Presents and Live Nation both announced a proof of vaccination requirement for all of the festivals and venues owned and operated by the two industry behemoths. As part of the announcement, Live Nation said best practices had also been developed for artists to request these policies at third-party venues such as Nationwide, hence the asterisk. If you have tickets to a show here, consult the website beforehand to see if the artist has put any policies in place that would require attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. 

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Natalie’s (Grandview and Worthington locations)

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Yes, taken within 48 hours of the event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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Newport Music Hall

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Yes, taken within 72 hours of the event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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Ohio Theatre

Proof of vaccination required? Varies by event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

The Lincoln Theatre joined the rest of the venues owned and operated by CAPA (Lincoln Theatre, Palace Theatre, Southern Theatre and the Riffe Center theatres including the Davidson Theatre) in requiring all patrons, staff and volunteers to wear a mask at all times while inside, regardless of a person's vaccination status. The policy goes into effect on September 1. Free, disposable masks will be available to patrons upon request. While CAPA is not instituting a proof-of-vaccination policy, it will accommodate events and performers who request one, so check the venue's website in advance of any shows you plan on attending.

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Rambling House

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Yes, taken within 48 hours of the event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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Riffe Center theaters including the Davidson Theatre

Proof of vaccination required? Varies by event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

The Lincoln Theatre joined the rest of the venues owned and operated by CAPA (Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, Southern Theatre and the Lincoln Theatre) in requiring all patrons, staff and volunteers to wear a mask at all times while inside, regardless of a person's vaccination status. The policy goes into effect on September 1. Free, disposable masks will be available to patrons upon request. While CAPA is not instituting a proof-of-vaccination policy, it will accommodate events and performers who request one, so check the venue's website in advance of any shows you plan on attending.

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Rumba Café

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Yes, taken within 72 hours of the event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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The Schottenstein Center

Proof of vaccination required? No (with an asterisk)

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

In recent weeks, mega promoters AEG Presents and Live Nation both announced a proof of vaccination requirement for all of the festivals and venues owned and operated by the two industry behemoths. As part of the announcement, Live Nation said best practices had also been developed for artists to request these policies at third-party venues such as the Schott, hence the asterisk. If you have tickets to a show here, consult the website beforehand to see if the artist has put any policies in place that would require attendees to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. Additionally, since the arena is owned by Ohio State, the masking policy is established by the university, which currently has mandated masks in all OSU buildings, including the Schott, regardless of vaccination status.

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Shrunken Head

Proof of vaccination required? No

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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Southern Theatre

Proof of vaccination required? Varies by event

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

The Lincoln Theatre joined the rest of the venues owned and operated by CAPA (Ohio Theatre, Palace Theatre, Lincoln Theatre and the Riffe Center theatres including the Davidson Theatre) in requiring all patrons, staff and volunteers to wear a mask at all times while inside, regardless of a person's vaccination status. The policy goes into effect on September 1. Free, disposable masks will be available to patrons upon request. While CAPA is not instituting a proof-of-vaccination policy, it will accommodate events and performers who request one, so check the venue's website in advance of any shows you plan on attending.

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Spacebar

Proof of vaccination required? Yes

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? No

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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Skully’s Music-Diner

Proof of vaccination required? Varies by event; promoter decision

Negative COVID-19 test accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination? Varies by event; promoter decision

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

While most of the events currently scheduled at Skully’s do not require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test, attendees will have to provide this information for any concerts booked in the room by Celebrity Etc. These include the sold-out Waxahatchee show on Sept. 4, Hop Along on Sept. 8 and K. Flay on Sept. 11, each of which will require attendees to provide either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test taken within 72 hours of the event. 

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Summit Music Hall

Proof of vaccination required? Enforced upon artist request

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate

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Woodlands Tavern

Proof of vaccination required? No

Masks: Required when not actively eating or drinking per Sept. 10 city mandate