Let's start with some facts:
- San Francisco is only 59% fully vaccinated.
- Omicron BA.2 is absolutely ripping through the population.
- Case numbers are probably seven times higher than reported.
- You have no immunity to Omicron without a booster.
- Long COVID is a real threat. We don't remember polio any more, we only remember long-polio.
- CDC recolored their maps: rather than showing your risk of illness, they now say that you're ok as long as there is still freezer truck morgue capacity available in your area.
We held out until the bitter end. DNA Lounge was among the first nightclubs to require proof of vaccination, long before it was legally required. We were the only nightclub to actually verify that proof by scanning QR codes rather than accepting any old easily-photoshopped picture.
But within the last few weeks, nearly every other nightclub has stopped requiring vaccinations. We surveyed 40+ venues, and it's basically universal at this point. Most of them haven't made any announcement of this, they just quietly stopped. A few have updated their web sites with the new policy, but many have just scrubbed the word "COVID" from their web sites entirely.
So why are we following suit? Because we can't afford not to.
Being the only nightclub checking vaccination status doesn't really do anybody any good. It costs us business without actually making anyone safer, since all of our customers are going to be comingling with the unvaccinated at every other club and restaurant in town. (It's like you're at an orgy with a hundred people and there's one dude wearing a condom.)
And because it has been making booking be more difficult. We've lost some shows because the artists' agents believe, rightly or wrongly, that our vaccination policies will mean lower attendance.
And because our COVID grant money is about to run out. We can't afford to continue excluding such a huge proportion of our potential customers when none of our competition are doing the same.
Venues that are no longer requiring proof of vaccination include:
We didn't check in on every corner bar, but that's most of the larger places, and it's certainly a statistically damning sample. Also, a couple of venues on that list are accepting a negative test result in lieu of vaccination, which counts as not checking at all. You can be infectious and asymptomatic for a week or more before a test shows positive.
There are lots of things that we could be doing to bring this pandemic to an end, but we as a society are simply not doing most of them.
We can all look forward to years of people telling us, "It's just a cold, everybody gets it twice a year, whatever." And your personal experience may support that in the short term, because with vaccinations, probably very few people you know will be hospitalized. But Long COVID is a god damned hurricane of multiple sclerosis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, weird clots, loss of lung capacity, brain damage, and inexplicable neurological conditions, and it's coming right at us.
And in this hurricane, instead of building levees and storm drains, the government is telling us, "everybody should take personal responsibility for deciding what level of moistness they are comfortable with".
And in this hurricane, as it uproots trees and batters your storm windows, your friend rolls their eyes and asks, "Are you just going to stay home forever?"
To the many of you who have thanked us for our policies, who have told us that DNA Lounge was the only venue in which you felt
A while back someone on Twitter said something like, "I'll be wearing a mask at all shows until DNA Lounge says you don't need them at theirs." That was a very nice thing to hear, a vote of confidence in our science-based policies.
To be clear, that is not what we are saying.
What we are saying is, you should absolutely still wear a mask, and you should only congregate with others who are all masked and boosted. But DNA Lounge can no longer mandate that, because Capitalism Says No.
We are welcoming back with open arms the unvaccinated, the unboosted, the unmasked. We intend to pack them in, shoulder to sweaty shoulder, spittle flying everywhere. We are doing this because we can't afford not to. Much like our mayor, and the CDC, we are not following the science, we are following the money.
If that sounds horrible to you, that's because it is.