19-Apr-2022 (Tue) Wherein we surrender unconditionally to the coronavirus.

We deeply regret to inform you that we are no longer requiring proof of vaccination to enter DNA Lounge.

Let's start with some facts:

We held out until the bitter end. DNA Lounge was among the first nightclubs to require proof of vaccination, long before it was legally required. We were the only nightclub to actually verify that proof by scanning QR codes rather than accepting any old easily-photoshopped picture.

But within the last few weeks, nearly every other nightclub has stopped requiring vaccinations. We surveyed 40+ venues, and it's basically universal at this point. Most of them haven't made any announcement of this, they just quietly stopped. A few have updated their web sites with the new policy, but many have just scrubbed the word "COVID" from their web sites entirely.

So why are we following suit? Because we can't afford not to.

Being the only nightclub checking vaccination status doesn't really do anybody any good. It costs us business without actually making anyone safer, since all of our customers are going to be comingling with the unvaccinated at every other club and restaurant in town. (It's like you're at an orgy with a hundred people and there's one dude wearing a condom.)

And because it has been making booking be more difficult. We've lost some shows because the artists' agents believe, rightly or wrongly, that our vaccination policies will mean lower attendance.

And because our COVID grant money is about to run out. We can't afford to continue excluding such a huge proportion of our potential customers when none of our competition are doing the same.

"I wish the nightlife community would come together and have consistent vaccination policies."
"Wait, no, not like that."

Venues that are no longer requiring proof of vaccination include:

All of the AEG Golden Voice venues (Warfield, Regency, Great American Music Hall, Coachella); all of the Live Nation TicketMaster venues (Fillmore, Masonic); all of the Another Planet venues (Greek Theatre, Bill Graham, The Independent), 1015 Folsom (but their vax checks had always been performative at best), Midway and Great Northern (they never checked at all, that's probably why Breed likes partying there); Cat Club, Yolo, Audio, Oasis, Temple, The Chapel, Public Works, August Hall, The Grand, City Nights / Club X, Cafe du Nord, Swedish American Hall, Bottom of the Hill, Brick and Mortar, Neck of the Woods, Bimbo's, Monarch, Holy Cow, Halcyon, F8, End Up, Ivy Room, New Parish, and UC Theatre.

We didn't check in on every corner bar, but that's most of the larger places, and it's certainly a statistically damning sample. Also, a couple of venues on that list are accepting a negative test result in lieu of vaccination, which counts as not checking at all. You can be infectious and asymptomatic for a week or more before a test shows positive.

There are lots of things that we could be doing to bring this pandemic to an end, but we as a society are simply not doing most of them.

We can all look forward to years of people telling us, "It's just a cold, everybody gets it twice a year, whatever." And your personal experience may support that in the short term, because with vaccinations, probably very few people you know will be hospitalized. But Long COVID is a god damned hurricane of multiple sclerosis, diabetes, chronic fatigue, weird clots, loss of lung capacity, brain damage, and inexplicable neurological conditions, and it's coming right at us.

And in this hurricane, instead of building levees and storm drains, the government is telling us, "everybody should take personal responsibility for deciding what level of moistness they are comfortable with".

And in this hurricane, as it uproots trees and batters your storm windows, your friend rolls their eyes and asks, "Are you just going to stay home forever?"

To the many of you who have thanked us for our policies, who have told us that DNA Lounge was the only venue in which you felt safe -- because we were the only ones who seemed to be taking this pandemic seriously -- thank you for your support. And I'm sorry. We are no longer able to provide you with that island of safety.

A while back someone on Twitter said something like, "I'll be wearing a mask at all shows until DNA Lounge says you don't need them at theirs." That was a very nice thing to hear, a vote of confidence in our science-based policies.

To be clear, that is not what we are saying.

What we are saying is, you should absolutely still wear a mask, and you should only congregate with others who are all masked and boosted. But DNA Lounge can no longer mandate that, because Capitalism Says No.

We are welcoming back with open arms the unvaccinated, the unboosted, the unmasked. We intend to pack them in, shoulder to sweaty shoulder, spittle flying everywhere. We are doing this because we can't afford not to. Much like our mayor, and the CDC, we are not following the science, we are following the money.

If that sounds horrible to you, that's because it is.

83 Responses:

  1. CSL3 says:

    Every world leader put us in front of a firing squad and told us it's our "personal responsibility" whether or not we get hit with a real bullet or a blank.

    I'm eternally grateful to The Lounge for taking the responsibility those leaders wouldn't. All the best to your amazing staff who wouldn't even take drink orders unless one was masked.

    You and they are all good people. 💓

  2. MrSpookTower says:

    Holy shit, this sucks. I'm sorry we live in times like this.

  3. Kim says:

    This makes me very sad. The DNA was one of the only safe venues out there that immune compromised folks like myself felt we could go. I do understand the $$ side of this, but I am sadden to think I won't be safe anywhere anymore. Thank you for giving me a safe months.

  4. Elusis says:

    Thanks for trying, Jamie. Seriously.

    That fucking Trump-appointee who overturned masks on airplanes yesterday just effectively cut me off from my entire family for god knows how long, because they're too old to make the drive from the midwest, and I don't get enough time off among my FOUR fucking jobs to make six days of just travel possible any time in the forseeable.

    My BFF, who has already been diabetic for years despite being a total jock, just got COVID at his job.

    Fuck this fucking timeline. Fuck it right in the goddamned earhole with a pencil.

  5. Nameless says:

    Thank you for doing everything you could to keep us safe. You were truly the only venue I felt safe at.

    I’m infinitely frustrated on your’s and everyone’s behalf that it has come to this. I’ll always remember you tried your best, and did the right thing in spite of the horrible people in this horrible world.

  6. Joe Loughry says:

    [wall of text]

    I honestly can't tell if that was satire or real.

  7. Thomas Lord says:

    Between this and the climate emergency, it is time to bankrupt every venue, and every business, and every local organization and goverment. It's time to look around the real existing disaster area that encompasses the entire populated world. Revolution now.

    Markets are a poor substitute for human-to-human relations when it comes to tackling urgent emergencies like the present ones. My god, we have multiple, concurrent existential emergencies!

    During WWII markets were suspended so the gov't could do it's thing. During the crisis of overproduction in the 1970s, markets were replaced with crazy Disney-esque fiat dollars to perpetuate capital. Markets are not essential to survival, in other words. As a people, we're more flexible and adaptable than that.

    DNA lounge will be an awesome, post-capital venue. You like all that cyberpunk funk fiction? Live it. It always felt to me like that was part of the concept when the current owner took over.

  8. Pete Mopsicle says:

    Thank you for putting up a principled fight. It sucks that the governments let you down, but the fact that you stuck to your guns is inspiring.

  9. John Shaw says:

    I appreciate and respect the determination that it took to hold out to this point, and I'm likewise glad that you're making the right decision now in terms of not burning your business and thus your community to the ground in the hopes others will come to their senses.

    The simple fact is, that as the CPC has shown, even despite the deliberate mismanagement of the local government in Shanghai (which hopefully will result in firing squads, and I'm not talking metaphorically), it's totally possible to stop COVID, regardless of variant, in its tracks.

    However, you can't do it by half measures, and every single s**thole Western country, including those that were initially praised like Australia and New Zealand, have done nothing but half measures. These governments are not legitimate and they should be overthrown.

  10. saxmaniac says:

    Well, that sucks. Thanks for the effort, man.

    At least you weren't alone. There is one (!) place I know of here on the East Coast that does it, which just happens to be the place I now bartend at. I use "place" loosely here, not as "music venue" but "any place whatsoever". Admittedly, a handful of bars in VT did check vax cards this winter... but not matching IDs.

    If any of you are in MA, come visit us at Sanctuary for some live music and booze. Yeah, we require the actual card and a matching ID. Still.

  11. Amy Kitty says:

    Thank you, Jamie, for holding out as long as you did. I appreciate it. DNA has been a beacon of scientifically-sound policy during this pandemic, and it was nice to know there was one place that was safe(r). I'm sad that that will no longer exist, but I know it's been an uphill battle for you. It sucks that this country has basically decided that it's just fine to throw elderly and immuno-compromised people under the proverbial bus because of political b.s. and profoundly childish willful ignorance. I'm battening down the hatches for this hurricane, and I'll just have to make do dancing in my livingroom with my husband and cats. May DNA flourish, and live to fight another day.

  12. Nathan Ennst says:

    We appreciate you trying JWZ. You really are a small bastion of reason amongst a sea of total insanity. Personally, I really felt that wearing a small piece of cloth on my face while out trying to have a good time was no big deal at all. I don't get why so many people took issue with it. The complaints are so thin — I get just as much emotional connection from other people with most of their face covered as I would without. People are beautiful in their masks.

    You would've had a better chance of success in a city that takes Covid seriously like Shanghai under leadership of a more disciplined government like the CCP, but with our dangerous tri-branch representative democracy led by health criminals like London Breed, there's just no chance for reason to win out as big money interests force us back to normalcy after a mere 2.5 years of being careful by keeping most things locked down. We should have tried harder, and people will die because we didn't.

    For my part, I unfortunately won't be attending any events for now — I'm actively terrified of long Covid and it's just too risky going out with possible anti-vaxxers in the room, but really still hoping that the world wakes up and puts health measures back in place so I can come back soon. Thanks for all you've done!

    • Spottedcat says:

      >under leadership of a more disciplined government like the CCP

      While I can agree that we're not doing enough to solve covid, PLEASE don't suggest that we be more like the CCP. This is a government that has locked people into their homes under threat of violence, and euthanized their pets without consent.

      There's doing more, but there's also going way too far. The CCP should not be an example for anyone, other than for what NOT to do.

  13. Magnolia Cass says:

    Please mask up when you come to DNA Lounge! During the pandemic this venue become an oasis for us “weird kids” who took the pandemic much more seriously than others. It might have kept some away, but we all want to keep this culture alive. Immunocompromised and Long Covid sufferers, DNA Lounge still loves you!

    • thielges says:

      Yes, masks should continue to be encouraged. N95s (without the exhale port) are even better because they protect the wearer too. I've upgraded from using cheap disposable surgical masks to N95, especially when indoors with a crowd of enthusiastically shouting people, a situation that can't always be easily avoided.

      We live in a society that resists even a minor inconvenience to create a greater good for the community. Adapting to social distancing and masking was easy. Really easy. And the gas price "crisis" could be easily solved tomorrow if everyone just drove a little less.

      Thanks for taking the high road for so long Jamie. I'm sure it was not much fun though you'll fall on the right side of history.

      • jwz says:

        Today is March 781st, 2020. And amongst the last 781 pretty crappy days, yesterday has been another of them.

        As far as masks go, I find these really comfortable, and also they are available in a dazzle pattern! Posh KF94. A necessary adjustment, as the DNA Lounge dazzle masks are long sold out, and were cloth.

      • atomicthumbs says:

        the 3M 6500 elastomeric respirator can take 2291 easy-breathing particulate filters, and it can be fitted with a 604 exhalation filter to protect others around you.

        plus you can paint cool stuff on it (don't spraypaint) as long as you don't touch the sealing surfaces.

  14. Eric says:

    In all seriousness, thanks for holding out for as long as you could.

  15. Ian says:

    At the moment, I feel like the guy at the end of the original Invasion of the Body Snatchers going "You're next! You're next!" to an uncaring bunch of drivers.

    It should have been the last scene of the film, especially as there's currently no liklihood of some police discovering that it's all true, and it's going to get worse, again again.

  16. Ian says:

    Big business has joined the NRA in declaring that death is a good thing, you mean?

  17. tfb says:

    The way humans have dealt with COVID makes it really obvious how fucked we all are. COVID is a relatively minor (yes, minor, hold on) problem where things you do have essentially immediate effects: if you reduce transmission then infection rates fall in days or weeks and deaths fall in no more than weeks. And about the only thing humans got right in dealing with it was the development of vaccines: deployment of vaccines not so much. And then after two years it all got too much and we just gave up, and forced people who didn't want to give up into doing so, as here.

    And then over here there's this actually major problem, except it all has these nasty delays: the things you do to deal with it need to be done now, but won't really matter for one or more decades. And are we doing anything? Fuck no. People say we are, but they're lying: what they mean is 'we will pretend that in due course we will do something, but in fact we won't'. Look at the 2022 predicted CO2 concentration change at Mauna Loa: it's not going down, is it? And that's the second fucking derivative of the thing: not only is the concentration not falling, the rate of change of concentration isn't falling.

    At this point it's just a race: will climate change itself kill most of our grandchildren, or will the wars started by the fascists brought to power by the instabilities caused by climate change kill our children? The fascists, probably.

    There seriously is no future.

    • Cadence says:

      I've learnt accept some of the futility, do my part, but of all to try to find peace within.

  18. eSyr says:

    I think what can be done is ensuring that there's good ventilation _and_ filtering of the air, that seems to help[1].

    [1] https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/air-filter-significantly-reduces-presence-of-airborne-sars-cov-2-in-covid-19-wards

  19. Jason Kaczor says:

    Thanks for fighting this long!

    Curious - will you have a policy for staff to continue wearing masks? Or will it be personal choice?

    After things opened-up recently here, almost all businesses continue to have their staff wear masks. Risk management - so, I always say to the "mask-deniers" that these corporate fatcats must know something... Like perhaps they don't want to be sued into oblivion for unsafe workplaces.

  20. AaronB says:

    Appreciate your efforts to do right by your guests and staff, Jamie.

    There's only so much you can achieve by arm-twisting when folks just don't want to do something though, and it seems like we're at that limit. I ascribe this less to "capitalism" and more to "people are exhausted."

    I confess to feeling this way myself: I'll respect others' requests when I'm in their spaces, but honestly, knowing I'm going to be nagged about a mask tips the balance just a little more in favor of sitting on my couch and away from having a night out. Is this selfish? Probably a little. I also just think my risk tolerance and read on the science is different (not that different - I will happily get all the shots, because I'm not fucking stupid). You're in a tough spot because DNA is a place where people go to have a good time, and document-checking and mask-policing doesn't sound like a good time to most folks.

    Anyway, I'm glad you're doing what's necessary to keep the doors open so DNA can continue to be a weird, awesome place. And thanks for your continued work on ventilation, etc - stuff that doesn't require anyone else's permission. The data seems to show that sort of thing is huge, and just doesn't get much attention because it's invisible.

  21. K J says:

    My hope here - and in case it's not clear, it's a narrow one - is that long COVID finally kicks medicine to take chronic fatigue seriously. It's been nigh on impossible for people suffering from CFS and related long term maladies to get doctors to take them seriously. Maybe, just maybe, we'll get that change out of this whole mess.

  22. Zach says:

    As someone who actively studies SARS-CoV-2 in a UC research lab, I really appreciate all your efforts to keep your guests and staff safe. What a great example you set.

    • CSL3 says:

      I hope you're reporting that back to UC docs Monica Gandhi and Peter Chin-Hing, whose shared mantra of "everything-is-fine-and-masks-will-kill-you" just makes things worse.

      • CSL3 says:

        *Peter Chin-Hong

      • Zach N says:

        I have a Ph.D., not an M.D. and I work at UC Santa Cruz, not UC San Francisco. I think if I talked to these people at UCSF medical school, they wouldn't care for my opinion. I think all of this anti-everything is ridiculous as well. I am actually conducting research on the virus itself to understand how it infects patients, not the pathology of patients with the virus themselves.

        • Zach N says:

          I think that people can do what they'd like from now on, I guess? I came to the DNA lounge to see John 5, masked up! Someone from the band/crew got Covid19 within a day of the show and the band had to cancel multiple sets after this SF show. I'm lucky to have seen the genius I did. Of course this is correlation, not causation, but it's all correlated.

  23. 7

    Maybe it's possible to have a night of the week that still has the vaccination requirement in place? Since DNA lounge has multiple rooms, could you segment that way too?

    As a dad, with for now 2 kids that are unvaccinated I'm deeply worried about taking risks that can affect them. I wonder if there is a way that DNA lounge could test the waters and see if there is a way to hold the line in some small way on vaccination status?

    • And the internet proves to be toxic yet again.

      Now I only have 1 child unvaccinated.  And if you read my post, you see that I AM NOT GOING OUT TO CLUBS UNLESS THEY REQUIRE MASK AND VACCINATIONS!

  24. Carlos says:

    As others have said, thank you for fighting the good fight as long as you could. No one will blame you for being unable to continue under the changed conditions. It's not geographically possible for me to be a DNA customer, but if it was, yours would have been the only club I attended in the last couple of years.

    Also: there's a club that actually named themselves Yolo? Is it as full of douchebros as the name would imply? Actually, if it is, you would probably have never been there to tell me so...


    • jwz says:

      You might be surprised to learn that a few angry people are, in fact, blaming me for that.

  25. Friend says:

    Hey, listen, I really hope you take this to heart, but you managed to really upset pretty much every bar and nightclub in the city with this post. Many places have tried to keep requiring vaccines, or had policies at least as strict as DNA, but faced the same awful realities that you are.

    I’m not sure if you intended to, but this post characterized nearly every other venue as being grossly irresponsible, and paints you as the only sane one out there. It’s actively burning bridges in the industry. Many places just followed state and city guidelines to the letter, and this comes across as very insulting.

    Some other venues are upset at having been called out specifically. Navigating public sentiment on COVID is tricky and delicate, as it’s a very polarized topic. Drawing any attention can cause a lot of grief and misery. So many places have quietly shifted policies and were not intending to draw a lot of attention on the topic. This post could have just simply not named venues, and would have not drawn the ire of the industry.

    There are a lot of people talking about this, but many are reluctant to say anything to you, as you are perceived as being resistant to criticism. Several people have claimed that they posted comments here, which you later deleted. This is likely to make it a lot harder to find staff in a pinch, as many venues are just not going to want to help you out. Expect nobody to think of you when they have bookings they can’t take. I hope you didn’t intent to piss off the whole industry, but you sure did.

    Apologies can do a lot to mend damage. The way people felt about being on the receiving end of things may not be what you intended, but that’s what happened.

    • jwz says:

      I have only deleted comments that were either abusive, or spreading misinformation about the pandemic. (Oddly, those two things tend to go hand in hand.) If someone comes in here to swear at me, or to tell me how happy they are that they don't have to wear masks any more, yeah, I'm deleting that. I feel no obligation to provide a platform for those people. They can go get their own blog.

      I absolutely do think that "following state and city guidelines to the letter" was a dangerously irresponsible thing for businesses to do. Those guidelines are clearly prioritizing the economy over peoples' lives.

      The SF vaccine mandate back in August only happened because so many local businesses had already decided to require proof of vaccination. Breed saw the parade and got in front of it. We could have done that again. We could have presented a united front, and probably saved lives as a result, but no one was interested in doing that. When I suggested it on our local-venues mailing list, I was shot down.

    • Jason Scott says:

      Either there's a coalition of club owners that all discuss things on a secret list or zoom call, or there's not. If there's not, then there's either an informal back channel, or nobody talks to anybody else.

      JWZ has been telling it like it is for 20 years on this blog. City Inspectors, the Mayor's Office, Bands (by name), Contractors (by name), individuals (not by name, occasionally by photo if they're vandals), and has done so with little wavering for decades.

      So now it's the year that people are all huddled out in the cold, cold wasteland of SF, with barely a fish to share among them in their ripped tents, because big bad ol' Jamie made it clear with cogent ferocity why the DNA Lounge has had to put its own patrons at risk?

      Pull that level again, pal.

      Intimidation and gaslighting by "you don't know what you stirred up" doesn't even make a ding on this guy.

    • Pal says:

      Hey Friend. I'm probably one of your customers if you're in the industry as you seem to imply.

      Look, I think it really sucks that bar and nightclub owners have been put in the absurd and basically impossible position of being responsible for public health in their venues because every damn link in the chain before you guys—from the White House to the CDC to the Governor to the CA Department of Public Health to the Mayor to SFDPH—essentially threw up their hands and abdicated all responsibility. It's a royally messed up situation to dump in the lap of business owners, and nobody went into the industry because they wanted to create pandemic policy.

      But yeah, you actually do have a moral responsibility to at least try to act in the best interests of the health of the community, which often means going beyond what the strict letter of the law requires. You do have a responsibility to make wise and considered decisions about the health and safety of your patrons, and it's pretty sad to hope you venues could quietly get away with weaker policies without drawing attention, to say nothing of getting mad online that jwz dared talk about something you were hoping to sweep under the rug without attention.

      You rather tell on yourself when you note that your main concern, apparently the entire industry's main concern, is that jwz named venues. The venues named are simply a list of venues that are no longer requiring proof of vaccination (granted, the list includes two asides). That's basic factual information, the kind of information that's relevant to customers, and frankly the entire community, since we're talking about a contagious disease. What wrong did jwz commit exactly by listing venues have have recently quietly changed their policies?

      All the listed venues made a choice to put their profits and the economy ahead of lives and community health. I'm not saying DNA Lounge is even any better in that regard, as they're making that same decision today. I can't even say I blame some of them, given the financial realities at stake. But DNA Lounge at least made a point to explain the decision and to, with incredible frankness, explain what it means and why it's bad.

      • LostInSF says:

        Well there have been a number of event producers/groups that just went underground during the pandemic and continued to run raves/clubs/house parties. They REALLY don't want you to tell people what they were up to so that people can make up their own mind if they want to support that kind of behavior. Like to the point of blackballing and trying to silence people who speak out. This just seems like more of the same.

    • atomicthumbs says:

      if they didn't want someone to say they're not requiring vaccines, maybe they should have required vaccines

      • Pal says:

        Why'd I bother writing nearly 400 words when you got it all down to just 17? Thank you.

    • Carlos says:

      Many places have tried to keep requiring vaccines, or had policies at least as strict as DNA

      Well, no, they didn't. They didn't actually check vaccination status, just waved in anyone who could show a badly-photoshopped image on their phone.

      this post characterized nearly every other venue as being grossly irresponsible, and paints you as the only sane one out there.

      Those venues actively decided not to actually do what was required to keep people safe. That fits the definition of "grossly irresponsible".

      Some other venues are upset at having been called out specifically.

      They behaved badly. Someone pointed it out. Now they're upset because they look bad. All of that is on them, not jwz.

      So many places have quietly shifted policies and were not intending to draw a lot of attention on the topic.

      Again, jwz just pointed out their policies were harmful to patrons and the wider community. If they didn't want attention to that fact, they should have implemented better policies. Everyone faces criticism for their choices, and business owners should be no different.

      "You don't have the right to criticize me" is absolute, total bullshit.


    • J says:

      As a consumer, I would much prefer information about the safety of a situation to be published where I can reference it. If I had gone out to one of these other venues expecting people to be safe and they weren't, it would ruin my night. DNA is doing the responsible thing here. It's not ok that other venues tried to quietly get away with changing their policies.

    • sleepdictation says:

      what a cowardly attempt at blame and self-exoneration. some "friend"

  26. Nate says:

    Thanks for all you did — I used your post as an example to get a group that I help start requiring and validating digital vaccine proof.

    This first pandemic of our lifetimes has not resulted in the lasting change I want to see in society. Instead you get China style jackboots lockdown or Sweden style “let it rip”. What I hoped for was Great Depression/WW2 style collective sacrifice. Maybe National Guard delivering meals to neighborhoods, fast local production and certification of N95 designs, wiki for ventilation improvements, and health agencies sticking a green/yellow/red air changes per hour sticker on the front window of businesses.

    But thank you always for working so hard for your small part of the world.

    • thielges says:

      In our current fragmented national society we can't expect to see the vast majority rallying behind any cause. The self-centered individuals who reject the slightest inconvenience plus the anti-government crowd that will reflexively oppose any science based conclusion (these "patriots" are just stooges for America's rivals) ensures that any cause for societal good (climate, pandemic relief, social equity, etc.) will face strong headwinds.

      However there is cause to celebrate what the remainder have accomplished during the pandemic. The communities that banded together to adapt objectively did do better. The San Francisco Bay Area and in particular the City carried more of the "sacrifices" and in fact did much better than the rest of the country in terms of infection and death rates. That is something to be proud of.

      I'm energized by people who were really hit hard by the pandemic yet instead of crying about the rules and constraints did something about it. One friend who owns a fitness studio was really hammered by the extended shutdown, yet she tried several adaptations to both protect her customers and keep her staff as employed to the maximum possible. My own extended family struggled to help a member with severe non-covid health issues get the medical care he needed without exposing him to the disease while jumping through myriad pandemic hoops. Then there's JWZ and the DNA doing the best in a business sector that was really hammered in the pandemic.

      Don't be dragged down by the adult babies out there who played poorly during this fragment of history, be inspired by those who did the right thing.

    • Jaytay13 says:

      I argued for all of these things at the beginning...

      I got laughed at. Told it was infeasible, impossible.

      Im not sure what I feel now. I don't hate these folks, although I should. I don't want to look out for just my family, although I'm kinda forced into it. I don't want to give up, but it feels like my hand is forced.

      I only know that I have lost a lot of trust in everything and everyone, and that loss just makes life harder.

      • Nate says:

        I don’t think you have to give up. It’s just going to take longer and some innovation maybe. Take ventilation, for example. It’s expensive to retrofit old buildings. Corsi boxes work but are janky — you have to use straps, not duct tape, to change the filters. They get knocked over easily, especially in childcare.

        But if we made a local health agency add a ventilation rating placard to restaurants and other public buildings, suddenly there’d be motivation to standardize these projects. Other cities would adopt it once they had success. So the best place to spend your energy is on local change, even by volunteering for a single preschool or elder center. Then grow the movement.

    • Ian says:

      First pandemic in our lifetimes?

      You're either very young or straight. Probably both.

      HIV/Aids showed how much people's lives mattered over getting (re)elected and the interests of businesses. Especially when it's mostly the queers or the poor dying.

  27. TDV Alinsa says:

    I understand and support this decision, but it sucks.

    It sucks because you don't have any other choice. It sucks because people in this country are so obsessed with their "freedoms" that they're willing to literally kill people to avoid even a slight inconvenience to themselves, completely missing that it says far more about one's character to still do the right thing when not forced to, than it does to "fight for their freedoms" so that they can simply not give a fuck about anyone but themselves.. It sucks because our entire government has failed us, top to bottom, and is using an economy that's so bad off that every major company is making record profits as a reason we all have to give up on ever being safe in public again.

    One of the richest countries in the world, and this is where we are.

    I'm sorry you were put in this position. You deserve better. We all do.

  28. birdperson says:

    hi, please delete/ don't publish if irrelevant - don't even live on your continent, just saddened/ interested:
    Why not make one night a week (a month) vaxx-proof day? That way, ppl that are left with zero options right now would have one again (I know the difference between "never again" and "once every couple of weeks" would mean the world to me), and I guess it wouldn't leave you bankrupt, either?
    (If anything, my guess is you'd make more on those nights, but who knows? I went to a lot of places these last two years bc they were the only ones with x Covid safety measures,though, as do a lot of people I know.)

  29. 70sjukebox says:

    Son,I remember my first beer, bur your mother and I are fed up with your sarcasm and shitty attitude.

  30. 2

    My condolences. I am gravely disappointed in the authorities who have prioritised profits over lives. The overwhelming levels of stupidity have convinced me that responses Global Warming, current and future pandemics will be for naught.

    I am triple vaxxed and will continue to wear a mask in any situation where people congregate and will continue to avoid high density situations such as clubs, bars, football etc. I’ve simply concluded that socialising the old fashioned way is likely the best balanced way forward. Eg back yard BBQs and small gatherings of like minded people.

  31. Don says:

    It's really frustrating that the refusniks finally got their way just by continuing to suck so hard that it became pointless to keep trying. It's also really frustrating that folks are giving you crap for not being willing to wear a hair shirt until you can't keep the doors open anymore rather than directing their ire at the powers that be and deniers.

    For whatever it's worth, I admire how long you tried and your practicality.

  32. 2

    Thanks for holding out for so long, and for communicating clearly with your customers, staff, and community.

  33. Rydell Downward says:

    Brutally realistic and utterly tragic. The ignorant pro-COVID crowd has win, and I won’t be participating in ANY nightlife for the foreseeable future. Humankind deserves death.

  34. Kyle Williamson says:

    Really difficult one for me - I'm afraid I have very different views on masking to yours. I'm not anti-vax (some of my friends are I might add) and I've had all three pretty much as soon as I could - given it's now been six months since the booster, it's probablay worn off by now (I'm in the UK for the record, and we're not being offered a 4th Jab, but I would have it if we were). However, I hugely respect your right to have a different view and to run your business in line with the policies you want to. At the same time, I also respect other people's rights as to what they put in their body too - and the policy in my business from day one has been "we'll make sure you get sick pay and we will support you if you get ill following a COVID vaccine, but we won't ever force to have one" - I never wanted work to get in the way of people having the jab, but I never wanted it to force them either.

    I've read this blog over the last 20 years, and to be honest, having sunk $5m+ into of your own money because of a higher belief in a sense of community, if nothing else, you get to have your own opinions, you don't have to blow smoke up people's arses and you should get to do things how you want to do them. You've earnt that right.

    And I guess that this is horrible reality - there aren't enough customers who want to have fun with these policies in place and it's heart-breaking for anybody that runs a business, that you end up being forced to run it against what you believe in. It's not why any of us ever start a business and it's a metaphorical stab through the throat for any of us.

    There are loads of opinions that come into COVID, and I can look at our UK Government who spent a large part of the various lockdowns holding parties. We have a Prime Minister, who by definition either lied to Parliament OR didn't understand the regulations he was pumping out on television. It's difficult following that to wonder "why the hell should we bother?" and then you make the arguments about Long-COVID and everything else and the argument swings the other way. I've got at least one relative who was finished off not from COVID itself, but the isolation from the impact of COVID. I could easily find a whole load of other arguments both ways too.

    I'm less than clear on any of this really and I'd hope you could understand why people have different views too - my views don't always agree with yours; but I'd fight for your right to have views that are different from mine. Somebody suggested the CCP above, but we don't have to agree. I'd hope you wouldn't delete this comment, but do understand if you feel the need to as well.

    Out of this negative could come a positive though - I'd make the commercial suggestion [which you can ignore, I won't be upset, it's just an idea!] that you attempt to run an evening a week or month with the masks & COVID vaccine checks in place too - without a big expensive act, just a gathering with a DJ or whatever - and you may find that those who still want that islands of safety right now give you a new clientele for the future as well. One way you could add to this is allow the vaccination status to be pre-registered online, or registered the first time, thereby allowing a smoother and less hassle path in the future too.

    • CSL3 says:

      I'm not anti-vax [..] However...

      The anti-vaxxer equivalent to "I'm not racist, but..."

      • Kyle Williamson says:

        Sorry - I don't think I said anything anti-vax at all there - all I said was I'm pro people being able allowed to make a choice as to what they put in their bodies.

        • FrankNY says:

          I agree with "I'm pro people being able allowed to make a choice as to what they put in their bodies". I'm a big believer in personal choice and the basic human right of an individual to make their own choices, but many rules have exceptions and there's a valid reason for that.

          We're talking here about a deadly global pandemic that has sickened and killed people in every country on the planet. Science-based rules that address that situation constitute an exception.

          I strongly resent it when someone tries to kill me, and that's exactly what people do when they ignore rules such as getting vaccinated, wearing a mask, socially distancing when around others, especially including strangers in public/semi-public places, and getting tested regularly.

          In my opinion, a public health emergency trumps personal freedoms every time because it affects others and not just oneself.

          I support the right of an individual to take their own life, but don't try to take me with you - and that's exactly what happens when people ignore the rules during a public health emergency such as COVID-19.

          It isn't called a PUBLIC health emergency for no reason.

          • Freelance says:

            Nobody is trying to kill you. Pandemic or not, life has always been a balance between safety and freedom. Perhaps we could save the most lives by staying home for the next 10 years, but nobody would be willing to do that. Life is for living, not just for staying alive. Expecting everyone to cater to your own comfort level and extreme risk aversion is, dare I say it, rather selfish.

  35. Eric D says:

    Insane to drop this with no notice. Shows your priorities.
    I won’t be going any future shows at DNA now in addition to anywhere else. Hope your gambit is worth it.

    You were compelled by capitalism to sell to livenation and didn’t do that right? How is this different? It’s really just that you won’t have to face the people you’ll inevitably harm with this choice.

    • jwz says:

      Here are the choices:

      1) We drop the requirements, like every other business in the city. Result: Eric D doesn't attend events at DNA Lounge.

      2) We run out of money and close. Result: Eric D doesn't attend events at DNA Lounge.

      If you think there's an option 3, you're wrong.

  36. andrew says:

    Having thought about this a little, especially with the various spikes and peaks and valleys of whatever variant is coming about this week...

    - I love the idea of a vaxed and masked night. Why not Death Guild? That's a very friendly crowd, and low risk compared to the big weekend events.

    - Why not offer some incentive in a language patrons understand? Raise drink prices by two dollars, offer two dollars off if you are wearing a wristband that you get for showing a QR code! I'd say drink tickets but you can't afford that.

    • jwz says:

      If one of our promoters came to us and said, "We'd like our night to require vax checks, with the clear understanding that this probably means cutting our attendance in half and costing both us and the club a bunch of money", we could have a conversation about that. But A) that hasn't happened and B) it is not likely to. For most promoters, this is their job. Getting as many people to show up as possible is how they pay rent. They are in the same situation that we are.

      • Kyle Williamson says:

        My view came from a slightly different angle here - that there are numerous people here that have stated that they won't turn up to venues now the "islands of safety" have gone - I wondered if there was an angle that could promote an event as having those, that would get people who otherwise wouldn't feel safe going to nightclubs right now to actually come out? Effectively use the vaccination angle as an angle to draw a specific, otherwise non-attending clientele rather than turn a different one away?

        • jwz says:

          If a promoter thought that promoting their event that way was a draw, they could propose it. Nobody has. Quite the opposite.

          • Kyle Williamson says:

            Yeh, fair enough. Not something you want to try and promote as an in-house event I guess either?

  37. Dakin says:

    I'm just wondering... I get having to drop the vax requirement. Why are you dropping the mask requirement?

    • jwz says:

      It had become completely unenforceable. Our customers decided months ago that they simply will not wear masks. We'd need to have a 1:1 security-to-patron ratio to get them to keep their masks on.

      When you have a rule that 99% of people get away with ignoring, that rule isn't doing much good.

      You should, of course, wear a mask.

  38. cat Vee says:

    Hi there everyone, first of all thank you so much Jamie for continuing to provide a wonderful dance space so we can relieve all our anxiety depression and tension each night on the floor. This has been especially important the last few years. It's important not to panic too much at a time like this. Yes covid goes on but many more people are vaccinated now which does prevent serious illness and certainly death the majority of the time. We also have good therapeutics, treatments available now. This is very different than several years ago. Still it is fearful for those who are unvaccinated or elderly or immunocompromised. But as you say, we can't stay home forever. But again that's an individual decision. Regarding long covid, I'm not sure all the research is in on whether this phenomena is for real and exactly what it's parameters are. I'm a licensed psychotherapist in private practice in San Francisco for many years and want to make the point that the accumulated stress, anxiety and depression has certainly taken its toll in its own way on everyone during this time. Having a serious illness, eg battling covid or going into the hospital for it, like any serious illness, is going to precipitate a number of psychological and mental syndromes during and after the illness. So sorting out cognitive problems and psychological challenges after covid is complicated and it does not mean that those mental and psychological symptoms were necessarily caused by the physiology of covid. Anyway mainly, thank you for dancing. I danced all through the pandemic at home, on zoom, on the sidewalk outside DNA and whatever clubs were open. And again tremendous thanks to you Jamie for this wonderful space!!! I personally may not have made it through the pandemic handling the enormous caseloads of patients during this time without the release of dancing, emotionally, physically and mentally.

  39. Andrew says:

    Just went to Death Guild for the first time in a minute. Gotta say: (1) the place looks GREAT, and (2) mask wearing is around 90%. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ will visit again.

  40. bluknight says:

    Ironic that I come to/stumble upon this post as I mentally wrestle with going to the annual hacker bacchanal of DEF CON, where (at present) they have also declared that they aren't going to be checking vaccine cards (and, IMO, have no good reason not to).

    It's truly disheartening.

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