No vax tax? $18 tickets to Florida concert will cost $999.99 for non-vaccinated fans

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Fans of Beyoncé, Kayne West, Ariana Grande and other current musical stars might be tempted to pay $1,000 for a ticket to one of their concerts.

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How about for Teenage Bottlerocket?

If you cannot show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, that is how much you will be charged for a ticket to the June 26 punk-rock event at a Florida venue. That is, if you decide to go.

Paul Williams of Leadfoot Promotions is charging $18 for advance tickets -- and $20 at the door -- to people who can prove they are vaccinated for COVID-19 and $999.99 to those who are not, WFTS reported.

Williams said he came up with the idea when trying to figure out how to book the concert, which will be held at VFW Post 39 in St. Petersburg.

“We’re just trying to do a show safely,” Williams told WFTS. “And they should go out and get vaccinated to protect themselves and their families and their community.”

Predictably, none of the higher-priced tickets have been sold.

Brittney Wigen, a punk rock fan, told WFTS that she was excited about seeing Teenage Bottlerocket, who will have Make War and Rutterkin as opening acts.

“I saw the announcement for the concert. And then you go to purchase the tickets, it says that you have to show proof of vaccination, which I do not have,” Wigen told the television station. “I understand what they’re doing. I think it’s very nice of them, but it’s just not fair.”

In a promotion for the event on Facebook, requirements for the discounted tickets are spelled out.

“To be eligible for the discount, you will need to bring a government-issued photo ID and your COVID-19 vaccination record card (if you have lost it keep reading, we got you),” the promotion reads. “You will need to have had your second shot of Pfizer or Moderna, or your single shot of Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine on or before 6/12/2021.

“If you are in Florida and need to replace your vaccination card, go here: https://tinyurl.com/wu7v2jtf,” the promotion reads.

Williams said he knew he could not legally prevent people without vaccines from attending. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning vaccine passports in the state, NBC News reported.

“In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision,” DeSantis said in a statement.

Williams said he did not think he could prevent fans from attending, so he introduced his creative pricing range.

Teenage Bottlerocket band members were initially skeptical with the approach but now support the idea.

“We’re all vaccinated. We encourage everyone to get vaccinated so we can see you in the pit,” singer-guitarist Ray Carlisle told WFTS.

University of South Florida Health Care Vice President Jay Wolfson said mandating people to show medical records raises other concerns.

“It would be discriminatory if a business said, ‘Show me your personal health information,’” Wolfson told WFTS.

Williams argues that he is merely running a promotion like other local businesses.

“I compare it to what we see right now with Dunkin Donuts giving you a free doughnut when you show your vaccine card,” Williams told the television station.

More coronavirus pandemic coverage:

>> Coronavirus: How long between exposure to the virus and the start of symptoms?

>> What are your chances of coming into contact with someone who has COVID-19? This tool will tell you

>> How to not let coronavirus pandemic fatigue set in, battle back if it does


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