NORTH KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A comedy club and live music venue in North Kansas City mandates vaccine proof for ticketed shows.
Ben Wendt, co-owner of The Rino, says if people want to see some good comedy or live music, they’ll have to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test from 72 hours before a show.
“Even if you completely disagree with us, what we’re trying to do is a keep a live, major venue alive in literally the worst pandemic in the history of this country,” Wendt said.
Wendt and his staff unanimously decided to follow other local Kansas City entertainment venues with the new rules.
“We want to make sure that people who aren’t vaccinated have a path inside and the whole point of having these safer precautions is to keep people healthy,” Wendt said.
Wendt says if it’s not for safety, it’s for profit.
“What we’ve heard is that people are more likely to come to concerts with these rules, people are more likely to come more often,” he said. “Specifically one of the biggest factors for us is we were starting to have bands cancel and upcoming tours cancel, and it’s really not at a sustainable pace.”
Wendt says six different shows in August fell through for The Rino over COVID-19 concerns, and since re-opening, profits have been razor-thin for the venue. He says it’s made having people show a vaccine card worth it.
“We just looked at our numbers, and it’s truly not sustainable in the long term,” Wendt said. “We barely made it through this last year, we’re not going to make it through another round of that as a business.”