Note: All Chuckwalla staff and employees are fully vaccinated against COVID 19
After a hiatus from touring in the United States due to the world wide pandemic, we jumped back in to the fray in December 2021 for a run of East and West coast dates.
The tour presented some challenges, as there were mixed vaccination status’s between band members. We also had vaccination passports from multiple countries.
During the advancing phase I learned a few key things around touring in the USA at this time.
- PCR test: A nasal swab conducted by a third party that typically takes 24 hours to return a result from a laboratory.
- Antigen test (Rapid): A different kind of nasal swap, that returns a result in a matter of hours
- OTC (Over the counter) tests: Tests that can be purchased from pharmacies that you can conduct, they will give you results within 15 minutes
Entry to the USA:
As of December 2021, the USA requires a negative Antigen (Rapid) or PCR test conducted by a third party within 1 day of your departure flight. This can be tricky to organise depending on your country of origin. Check in with any band members that their tests are within the 1 day time frame specified by the government, and call their airlines to confirm current regulations.
Touring with fully vaccinated artists is easy!
If you and the musicians you work with are fully vaccinated, there are very few regulations for performing artists in the USA. You may be asked to wear masks when not on stage or in the green room, and venues will ask to see vaccination certificates on entry, though in practice even this is quite relaxed.
Touring with unvaccinated artists is possible:
The most important thing to note is to be open and honest about this situation in your advance. All the venues and promoters on our tour were able to accomodate unvaccinated crew members. Only one promoter presented a strong opinion on this matter, the rest were relaxed and easy to deal with.
A general rule of thumb is that an unvaccinated band member needs to provide a PCR test from 48-72 hours before doors to the promoter.
Logistically this can be quite tricky, especially if your routing between cities is tight timing wise. Here are some tips if you find yourself in this situation:
- Many USA airports have rapid PCR testing available on site that return a result within 45 minutes to 2 hours. This comes at a cost of around $250-$350 USD (eg. XpresCheck)
- Every city has multiple locations where you can get rapid test results (including PCR tests) within 24 hours (next day by 2pm), though in practice our results would turn up around 2 hours after the test was taken. These cost around $60 – $90 USD.
These results can be emailed to you for proof, or you can request a hard copy. All the promoters on this tour were happy with emailed proof of a negative result.
Some promoters / venues accept rapid over the counter tests as proof, and can even provide these tests for you upon entry to the venue.
Other promoters / venues do not mind that any of your crew may be unvaccinated and will not ask for a test.
General COVID courtesy:
Be kind, wear a mask whenever you are working alongside venue staff.
Have some OTC rapid tests available for band members who might feel under the weather, or for when new band members jump on the tour.
If anyone has had exposure to COVID 19, remove them from the tour immediately for at least 5 days and retest before they join the tour again.
Ways to limit exposure to COVID 19:
On this tour I limited green room access to band only to limit possible exposure to COVID 19.
If a band member had a special request for someone to be granted backstage access, that person would have to be vaccinated and provide a negative over the counter test result.
Other than the above, there is only so much you can do. There is a risk of exposure at any live event, or flight that you take. The members of this band were ok with that risk, and many had already contracted COVID earlier in the year.
That’s about it! Pop a comment if you have any questions.