Negative COVID Test Required for an Event? Where to Get Fast Results

Planning on attending a large public gathering in fall or winter of 2021? There’s a chance that you will be asked to present proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test to help keep everyone involved in the event safe. This page provides an overview of where to get COVID-19 test results quickly and answers key questions surrounding the topic, such as:

  • What types of events and activities require negative COVID tests?
  • Why is COVID-19 testing important for large events?
  • Where can I get a COVID-19 test and get my results back quickly?

Types of Events Requiring Negative COVID Tests

According to the CDC, over 55% of Americans are currently fully vaccinated, as of September 30, 2021. Some events, ranging from private gatherings, such as a wedding, to the World Series of Poker, may require all attendees to show proof of vaccination to enter the venue and participate. Other events, such as Comic-Con, are accepting either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test to cater to unvaccinated individuals. All 41 Broadway theaters have announced that vaccinations are required for all theater performers, staff, and audience members.

Bands like The Foo Fighters, Phish, Maroon 5, The Killers, and Dead & Company have all announced similar plans to require fans to present either proof of vaccination or proof of a negative COVID test before entering the venues they perform at to protect the performers, the venue employees, and the audience members.

If opting to present proof of a negative COVID test, the negative COVID test must be recent. For example, to gain admittance into Comic-Con, the negative COVID test must be dated within 72 hours of the start of the event. This may be difficult for some people to do, especially if travel is involved, but thankfully there are options for quick testing that we will discuss below.

Aside from large gatherings, certain industries, such as airline travel, are continuing their requirements for negative COVID tests. All airline passengers returning to the U.S. from a foreign country must present proof of a negative COVID test before they board their returning flights. For domestic travel, the CDC currently recommends that non-vaccinated individuals get tested 1-3 days before their flights, but presenting proof of a negative COVID test is not currently required to board a departing or returning domestic flight.

Why COVID-19 Testing Before Major Events is Important

According to the CDC, large gatherings have the potential to spread COVID-19 for a variety of reasons, with indoor events posing more of a risk than outdoor events. While the CDC recommends prioritizing outdoor activities, guidelines for both indoor and outdoor events include:

  • Maintaining proper social distancing
  • Mask-wearing
  • Increasing the circulation of outdoor air

“People should be very concerned,” said Dr. John Swartzberg, clinical professor emeritus of infectious diseases and vaccinology at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health. “If you’re talking about a large crowd of people and no social distancing while singing, talking and yelling, that’s a lot of virus being thrown out in the air.”

Understanding risk factors and reducing the potential of spreading the virus is imperative to conducting a safe and successful event. 

A guideline from the CDC regarding safety during large gatherings is: “If there has been a sick person or someone who tested positive for COVID-19 in your facility within the last 24 hours, you should clean AND disinfect the space.” When a large event, such as Comic-Con or the WSOP, is already underway, cleaning and disinfecting an entire space is unrealistic. Therefore, many events are choosing to take preventative measures: ensuring all attendees are either vaccinated or have tested negative for COVID-19 before entering the space and mingling with other attendees.

Since COVID-19 can potentially result in asymptomatic or presymptomatic infections, preventative safety measures such as temperature checks may not always be effective. Individuals may exhibit no symptoms but still be able to spread the virus to other individuals. Maintaining regular testing, practicing social distancing, and wearing a mask can all help fight the spread of these types of cases.

How to Get a Fast COVID-19 Test Today

If you want to attend an event that requires proof of a negative COVID test, you will need to find a testing center that can provide timely proof of your negative result. Curative offers PCR COVID-19 tests in many states across the U.S. and individuals may receive their test results back within 24 to 48 hours of taking the test.

Click here to find a Curative COVID-19 testing center near you.

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