The Oscars will not require guests to show proof of vaccination

The Oscars will not require guests to show proof of vaccination

As the Oscars return to normal capacity levels, the Academy will not require attendees to be vaccinated, according to The Hollywood Reporter. They will instead mandate that guests provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test to gain entry.

The ceremony, scheduled for Mar. 27 in Los Angeles, would cover the minimum required COVID-19 precautions imposed by the Los Angeles Department of Health.

But given the timeline, officials expect the COVID-19 situation to continue to improve.

“In terms of COVID, six weeks is a lifetime, in a good way. Six weeks from now, we all could be coming down precipitously in terms of COVID infection levels,” said Paula Cannon, a professor of Immunology at the University of Southern California who primarily researches viruses, including COVID-19.

The Academy hasn’t officially announced its policies, but if the expected restrictions don’t change, there will likely be criticism, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The lack of a vaccine mandate for the Oscars would contradict the Academy’s policy for its employees — who are required to be vaccinated.

The Oscars’ protocols stop far short of the vaccine mandates imposed for the Screen Actors Guild Awards on Feb. 27 and other similar events in California.

The SAG Awards will have much stricter policies for attendees.

“All ticketed attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination plus booster shot (if eligible), proof of negative lab-based COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of event, and negative antigen (rapid) test the day of the event,” the SAG wrote on its website.

The academy’s lenient policies may surprise some, but Dr. Cannon believes requiring testing the day of the event to be enough.

“I actually think there is wisdom to going with a same-day test,” Dr. Cannon said. “It just reflects the reality of what overcrowding is able to do in terms of causing these mild infections even in vaccinated people.”

According to Dr. Cannon, given the strength of the omicron variant, even the strictest policies would not be able to stop transmission entirely.

“There is almost a 100% guarantee that somebody in that audience, the production staff, or the guests it’s going to have the omicron, she said. “Even one infected person can give it to a lot of people sitting there.”

Overall, Dr. Cannon believes that day-of testing is the best course of action.

“If had a choice, I actually come down on the side of same-day testing, because that would capture vaccinated people who may be infected as well,” she said.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.