HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — “Please get tested,” read a recent tweet from Griz, an American DJ, after he hosted a COVID-19 mitigation-less concert in Hampton.
The artist said he got word about positive COVID-19 cases following the “Space Camp” two-day-long music and laser show inside the Hampton Coliseum.
According to the venue’s website, when it comes to COVID-19 precautions, it’s up to performers on what they’ll ask of their concert attendees. That includes masks, proof of a negative test, or proof of vaccination.
“Currently, the decision to require masks, proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test upon entry to an event is at the discretion of the promoter and/or artist of each event. If a show does have specific entry requirements, these policies will also be listed on the event’s show page.”Hampton Coliseum
Despite 10 On Your Side’s attempts to contact Griz’s representation and the City of Hampton, no comments were provided regarding the event at the time of this report’s publication.
Griz announced days before his gathering to ticketholders that no precautions would be enforced. After hearing the decision, several people who spoke to 10 On Your Side decided against attending so close before the holiday gathering.
Sydney Perez decided to stick to her plan to attend and took her own precautions during the event.
“I just remember saying ‘I can’t even move around here. There’s too many people to begin with,'” she explained. Perez decided to stay away from the more crowded parts of the Coliseum.
She would later learn that some of her friends who were in the larger crowds caught the virus, but they weren’t alone. After Griz alerted his fans of the possible exposure, others said they tested positive too. Some voiced their concerns about the artist’s decision to host the event without proper mitigation.
Perez wants to remind fellow concertgoers they made the decision to attend knowing the risk.
“Although artists do need to encourage vaccinations, I don’t think it’s all on them. I do think that people also need to look at themselves; you decided to go. So you accepted that risk and you have some responsibility in that decision as well,” Perez said.
10 On Your Side spoke to Dr. Rich Williams, who works with the Virginia Department of Health. He said on the date of the concert, Dec. 18, Hampton’s community transmission numbers were already at substantial or high levels.
“In areas of such high transmission, such gatherings would not have been recommended indoors,” explained Williams.
Williams explained the social impacts of a pandemic and that, toward what feels like the “tail end,” the public could be attending events that could still put them at major risk.
“I certainly would advise everybody that they refrain both from organizing and conducting such large-scale, especially indoor, activities at this point and attending such things. They’re not safe. Not safe at all,” Williams said.
He wants the community — and concertgoers — to know the pandemic isn’t over. Coronavirus variants like delta and omicron are continuing the transmission of the coronavirus making events like Space Camp possible “super spreaders.”
“That has a chance, every opportunity, to cause a whole lot of disease spread. That has potential to be a super spreader event for sure,” Williams said.
People who attended Space Camp came in from all over the country, making the ability to track how many people caught the virus more difficult.
Only time will tell if the show was a true superspreader event, but Williams says regardless, organizers should be taking a more careful look at how these decisions are being made.
Following 10 On Your Side’s report, Griz took to his Instagram story and posted “I had made the wrong decision to host my show without vax or neg test requirements.” He went on to say that all future shows will require vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test — until further notice.