Attendees of events in Triangle largely accustomed to ‘new normal’ of COVID-19 protocols


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Whether it’s at a concert or a sporting event, COVID-19 protocols have become common at large venues.

IBMA World of Bluegrass returned to downtown Raleigh after going virtual last year. Masks are required inside, and proof of vaccination is required for the festival’s ticketed events.

Jay Kreider traveled from Pennsylvania for the event. He said he was pleasantly surprised when the festival announced a few days ago that proof of vaccination will be required for some of the events.

“An additional level of comfort,” Kreider said. “It was an easy process to check our IDs, and then wearing masks is not a big deal. It’s air-conditioned here, so not a problem.”

A few miles away from IBMA World of Bluegrass, the Carolina Hurricanes took the ice at PNC Arena for their first pre-season game.

Masks are required at PNC Arena except when eating and drinking, per the city and county indoor mask mandates. Fans are also required to complete a COVID-19 screening before every game.

“We’ve been doing it all when they brought hockey back. It became normal, so we’ve just gotten used to it,” said Chris Simmons.

Proof of vaccination is not required.

Fans at both events said they are accustomed to the protocol and consider it part of the new normal.

Don Waddell, the president and general manager of the Hurricanes, also said he expects protocols to stay for the time being.

“I think it’s going to stay this way for a while. And we hope in time as vaccines continue to get rolled out, we hope that’s a big push for the future for us to be able to take the masks off and go to our events like we used to,” Waddell said.

Some upcoming events at PNC Arena, including the Michael Bublé and Harry Styles concerts, will require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test. Waddell said once an artist rents out the arena for a show, they determine vaccination protocol.

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