COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – The last public event at the Schottenstein Center filled the venue’s concourses with thousands of patients getting their COVID-19 vaccine. The ‘Shot at the Schott’ mass vaccination clinic administered the vaccine to more than 220,000 people.
Thursday night, fans will be filling the corridors and the arena for the first live music concert in 579 days to watch Guns N Roses.
“I will have a tear in my eye when the band hits the stage because we’ve missed it so much,’ said Mike Gatto, the senior vice president for Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment (CASE).
He explained each live event employs 800-1,000 workers and drives revenue to the local economy. He also acknowledged COVID-19 safety and prevention measures, including the Schott’s former role as a mass vaccination site, which helped create an environment where live events are once again possible.
“We’re talking with local health officials and they’re comfortable with our plan. And a big part of our plan is going to be education,” Gatto said.
In a press conference a week earlier, Gatto joined the vice president of ticketing at Nationwide Arena to detail the protocols fans could expect as both venues welcomed back full capacity crowds for live events.
“It’s going to be more of a frictionless experience,” he explained.
At the Schottenstein Center, tickets will be mobile and all purchases will be cashless. Staff is encouraging concert-goers to download their tickets ahead of time so they can simply scan phones at the entrance.
As per a Columbus city-wide indoor mask mandate, everyone will be required to wear a mask except while eating and drinking. After an Eric Church concert at Nationwide Arena Saturday, some NBC4 viewers submitted videos and photos of a mostly maskless crowd, seemingly in violation of the mandate.
In response to the concerns, Gatto said the Schottenstein Center is adding more signage reminding everyone to cover their face indoors.
“We’ll be messaging inside the building, outside the building, throughout the building and asking people to wear their masks,” he explained. “Our staff will make their best effort to go around and encourage people to wear their masks.”
Thursday’s concert will not require guests to show proof of vaccination. CASE will let each performer or event sponsor decide whether to enforce vaccine requirements.
Gatto implores visitors to cooperate with the safety policies because they allow the venue to continue hosting live events.
“We really want people to have a safe time, an enjoyable time. But in order for us to keep presenting live music, we need them to wear masks,” he said.
You can find a full list of procedures and see details about upcoming events by clicking on this link.