Performers may require COVID tests at local venues


Local concertgoers might want to check venue COVID restrictions a few days before setting out to hear their favorite artists. This is especially important for fans who have chosen not to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Some performers are requiring proof of a negative COVID test within 72 hours or proof of vaccination before ticket holders are admitted to their shows.

Neither the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall nor the St. Augustine Amphitheater are requiring masks, negative tests nor vaccinations for entry, though they are following health and safety guidelines required by individual artists for specific shows.

Thus far, few artists are setting conditions related to COVID. There are, however, three exceptions so far at the Ponte Vedra Concert Hall:

  • “An Evening with Bruce Hornsby” on Nov. 17
  • “An Evening with John Pizzarelli Trio” on Feb. 22
  • “Graham Nash: An Intimate Evening of Songs and Stories” on March 9 and 13. In addition, the performer asks that all patrons wear a mask.

Because there is typically a 24- to 48-hour turnaround for results from a PCR test, concertgoers won’t want to wait too close to show dates to get tested. Fortunately, however, many sites offer rapid testing.

One such site is run by Telescope Health at 540 Atlantic Blvd. in Neptune Beach. However, the site is only open weekdays, so it’s still important to plan ahead for weekend concerts.

According to Dr. Matthew Thompson, who founded Telescope Health as a telemedicine company three years ago along with Dr. Matthew Rill, the test site sees people not only from Jacksonville, but also St. Johns, Ponte Vedra and elsewhere.

He said the volume of people seeking tests has declined from about 500 per day to about 70 currently. Greater numbers getting vaccinated may account for the drop, but mutations remain a cause for concern.

“There are certainly new variants that are coming out, and that can still put those who are vaccinated at risk,” Thompson said. “Thankfully, the majority of people that I’m treating now are vaccinated and have much less severe symptoms.”

He said Telescope Health, which opened its first testing site at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center in March 2020, has seen an increase in positive cases following concerts.

“We do see spikes in cases after large events where people are huddled together,” he said.

To check the status of testing restrictions at local venues, concertgoers can go to or and look up show details.