4-Sep-2021 (Sat)
Wherein I do some timeline math

Attendance is still way down, and that seems to be city-wide, not just us.

There have also been a lot of "lineup changes" due to DJs and bands being unvaccinated -- again, not just us: whole tours being cancelled because now they can't play in California. Several times we've had an email exchange with an agent: "Everyone's vaccinated, right?" A week of silence. "Everyone's vaccinated, right?" And repeat. Then the day before the show, "Soooo, it turns out..."

So that's great.

But as for attendees: our impression has been that most of our unvaccinated customers were not horse-paste MAGA lunatics, but were merely lazy and inconsiderate. They didn't particularly oppose getting vaccinated, they just hadn't bothered. But once it inconvenienced them personally, suddenly they were really interested in getting that shot.

A full year of lockdown, six months of wide vaccine availability, and almost 700,000 dead in the US alone didn't do it, but not being able to go see a DJ was the final straw. Ok, I'll take it.

So if these folks only made their first vaccination appointment after they were denied entry to a bar, how long until they're fully vaccinated and we can take their money again?

  • July 30th: DNA Lounge started requiring proof of vaccination.
  • August 6th or 13th: Most other clubs did, too.
  • August 20th: It became legally required.

If you get one of the two-shot vaccinations, you need three or four weeks between shots, and you are not fully vaccinated for two more weeks. J&J is two weeks total, but most vaccination sites are using the two shot versions.

So if these folks first got turned away at the door on the weekend of July 30th, and got their first shot that week, they'll be fully vaccinated by the weekend of September 17th.

But maybe they first got turned away from a club on Aug 20th instead, and then it most likely took them another week or two before they decided that this was not a fluke and they really did need to take care of their problem if they ever wanted to party again. That puts us at October 1st.

So we've got at least another month of this crap to put up with.

On a related note, I've been hearing persistent anecdotes that many SF bars are clubs are being extremely lax about checking vaccination status, and that several of the larger dance clubs aren't checking at all. To those people I say: shame on you. Do you not want this to be over??


As far as indoor-masking compliance, people have been getting a lot better about it. We still constantly have to nag them, though. Unsurprisingly, mask compliance at So Stoked is pretty much 100% (it was a part of the raver costume already). At the dubstep parties it's a lot lower, and at Bootie it's like "Mask? What is mask, I have not heard this word." We're getting there, though.

26 Responses:

  1. joshua says:

    So here's the thing that gets me: SF county's 1-dose rate (12+) is 87%, and completed rate (12+) is 80%. Is it only the 20% who go to clubs? There was not a meaningful uptick in the SF vaccination rate end-of-july / beginning-of-august, either. How much traffic were you turning away at the door?

    October 1st being the time that people will reemerge seems a little optimistic, based on those data.

    But hey, more dance floor space for me. I'll try to buy my share of drinks.

    • jwz says:

      Yeah, I dunno. There's probably also some element of "vaccinated people are afraid and staying home" and we have no way of measuring that.

      I haven't seen stats broken down by age range, maybe the 18-24 year olds have lower rates? There's also the dynamic that people travel in packs: if just one person in the group can't get in, they all go somewhere else.

      "How many we turned away" isn't the full story either, because we don't know how many just didn't come out because they realized ahead of time that they weren't getting in.

      • Dude says:

        I'd also be interested to see some breakdown of the age thing. The few times I've been out to a bar lately have been to Zeitgeist (which I'm lovin' more and more since Lucky 13 closed), and the last Sunday's outdoor music crowd was "packed" in the sense that all the tables were occupied. Myself included, everyone ranged 40+, with a few younger folks if you looked.

        Zeitgeist is vax-only (the woman trying to enter before me was turned away because she'd only gotten her first dose at that point), they only allow drinking and eating outdoors, the tables all have 'windows' between them, and I love that they're real hard-asses about wearing your mask if you step one foot inside - even if you're going to the john or are on your way out.

        Anyway, this past Thursday, I bought my ticket for the aforementioned date of Sept. 17, so I'm hoping the only "plague" in attendance will the either be the DJ or this guy:

      • Jeff Bell says:

        The vaccination rate at sf.gov shows 25-35 at the lowest rate of any age group. 18-24 is higher. 12-17 even higher.


        • well then says:

          presumably the 12-17 crowd at the clubs is not making up a majority of the clientele

      • Andrew says:

        Absolutely true that the younger you are, the less likely to be vaccinated (possible exception being ages 12-17). WaPo has some national and state numbers. Unfortunately your target audience is about the most lagging cohort, probably from the usual "I'm young, I don't think about my health" reasons.

        I wouldn't place myself in the center of your typical customer demo, but my concerns about going out now, despite being vaccinated, are mostly to do with chronic (long) covid. Even though I've started hearing about studies showing that its less of an issue than for the unvaccinated. If all I had to fear from covid was the equivalent to conventional flu (in bed for a week, then back to normal) I wouldn't worry. But instead, I'm following most of the pre-vaccine safety precautions, after a brief window of abandon earlier this summer, before the case rates started climbing again. I'll let delta die down before I make many discretionary trips out.


    • jwz says:

      Oh, and lots of our customers are from outside SF, so you really need to look at the full Bay Area numbers.

      • Christian says:

        I came in to say this, as far as the dubstep rave crowd I know people as far as sac and even Tracy who regularly attend these shows and I come up from the South Bay. Also I know some who know they cannot enter and won’t even try so that’s a thing too you’re correct.

        • the hatter says:

          Do you have some anecdata on the not-try-ers, are they already half-done, or more recently realised their custom is not valued, no matter how desperate some venues are to get some paying customers through the door ? I'm guessing they're not done due to apathy rather than some specific non-issue or being unable/advised not to ?

  2. Magic Bullet and the Jumping of Sharks says:

    It's just mind boggling how JWZ is now on the "OBEY" side. It's one thing to encourage people to get vaccinated (makes sense); it's quite another to coerce people en masse by way of sanctions, and yet another to happily support this kind of coercion and think that once business is back up it'll all be "over", when the coercion mechanism is here to say. The bad news for JWZ is that business will not be back up, not as long as this coercion is around.

  3. nooj says:

    Halloween is a big draw for DNA Lounge. Given the timeline, what can you do now to ensure it's a success?

    Maybe some of the ones who were turned away after Aug 20, and who would take a couple of extra weeks to get around to getting a shot, would need to be told very specifically: "You have [THIS MANY] days to receive your first Moderna shot if you want to come to Halloween", where [THIS MANY] is [time to Sept 30]. Maybe the Halloween advertising flyers or ticket purchases need to say something like that; or they have to click "I will get the shot / already have gotten the shot by [this date]" on the buy page.

    Or maybe on Oct 1, email every ticket holder a followup email saying "No shot yet? J&J is your only hope! Here are locations that offer it: ..."

  4. Chris Brent says:

    Has the city/county/state considered setting up a vaccination site outside of clubs and bars. Seems like a great way to mop up these, "never got around to it's people. "You're not vaccinated? Sorry no DNA lounge, but here you can get started now."

    • jwz says:

      So, funny story...

      (Note that I posted that in the first week of January, 2020, before anyone had heard of COVID-19.)

      • prefetch says:


        The strategy here is to keep a vaccine industry busy here, anticipating the time when an emergency supply is needed quickly in response to a new variant that is more lethal.

  5. Jeff Allen says:

    Keep fighting the good fight, Jamie. Thanks.

  6. Dude says:

    On a related note: the Lounge's strict "vax-only" rules are another reason to vote for them in the now-open "Best of the Bay" poll.

  7. Andrew says:

    Some anecdotal evidence on vax and mask requirements:
    - I've been to three shows this week: August Hall, Chapel, Independent
    - All three required a vax card + ID at the door. Nobody scanned the QR code, but everyone at least checked the date of birth against the date on the card (or acted like they did)
    - Mask compliance was close to 100% at Independent and Chapel. Chapel staff were very nicely asking people to keep masks on. August Hall, less so.
    - Smaller places (e.g. Madrone) have been less strict. Good thing they have parklets!

  8. vottyln says:

    I was turned away from the door at DNA tonight, despite being fully vaccinated way back in April. I guess paper copies aren’t good enough, and if you carry a “dumb phone”, you’re out of luck.

    Have you considered that attendance is down because this insane strictness just isn’t fun? We might show IDs and medical records to go back to work, but that PLUS strict mask rules at something that’s supposed to be a fun event… yeah I’ll just stay at home next time.

    This reminds me a lot of DRM back in the days. It was only inconvenient for those who paid for media. The pirates were doing just fine.

    • jwz says:

      Well, I'm sorry you had that experience. We don't accept copies because Photoshop is a thing that exists. We made this extremely clear.

      But yes actually, it has occurred to me that only allowing the provably vaccinated to attend might reduce attendance. Yeah. That's kinda obvious.

      There are a lot of other venues who don't check at all, or will accept your pinky swear. And they might be doing better numbers than us.

      But I feel like keeping our customers alive is really important, so I'm going to prioritize that over profit. Even if it happened to inconvenience you personally.

      So, I don't care what phone you have, You know the rules. We made them extremely clear. Get your shit together or stay home.

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