Durham restaurants, entertainment venues begin to require vaccinations, negative COVID tests


DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – If people want to see a show or eat at one of their favorite restaurants, they may have to show proof they were vaccinated against COVID-19.

Durham Performing Arts Center and the Carolina Theater just announced new COVID safety rules that go into effect on October 4.

Other businesses are also jumping on board.

DPAC said it will require a negative COVID test from within 72 hours or show a vaccine card.

The vaccination card is only valid two weeks following the final dose of the shot.

It’s something managers at DPAC, other venues, and local businesses believe is necessary.

“It’s a simple business equation: do we want to be open and having shows, or do we want to be closed?” said Randy McKay, president and CEO of the Carolina Theater of Durham.

That means there are new COVID protocols to keep the curtain up at the Carolina Theater.

McKay told CBS 17 extra security officials will be checking tickets, along with paper copies of vaccination cards or negative COVID tests, before people can enter the building.

“It really is the most responsible way to safely gather today,” he explained.

McKay believes the FDA approval of the Pfizer vaccine means they are making the right choice for their staff, the performers, and the community.

“It’s one step easier because we’re not asking someone to take something that hasn’t been in the full approval process,” he added.

That is also why Matt Pennisi put up a sign on the front door of Durty Bull Brewing Company, saying “proof of vaccination required for indoor seating.”

“I know some people were hesitant about wanting to do it when it was just under the Emergency Use, but now people can feel confident,” he explained.

At Pennisi’s brewery, anyone can go up to the bar, wearing a mask, and order a beer.

But after that, it’s up to them where they can enjoy their beverage.

“If they want to sit down, we have a limited number of seats inside, so we’ll ask to see proof of vaccination and verify it against an ID,” said Pennisi.

These new rules are making some people more comfortable with getting out and socializing again.

“I would prefer to go to a place that would require vaccinations because it’s just safer,” said Blake Williams, a customer at Durty Bull. “I would just feel a lot safer.”

Each business and venue has different requirements when it comes to checking vaccination cards and tests.

At DPAC, officials accept a digital copy of the vaccination cards but require a printed copy of the PCR or Antigen tests.

People are urged to call ahead for each venue and business to see what their specific rules are.

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