We’ve seen some pretty unique incentives being offered to encourage the population to take the COVID-19 vaccine. But a Florida concert promoter’s deeply discounted tickets are raising the stakes. Leadfoot Productions promoter Paul Williams is charging COVID-19 vaccinated attendees of an upcoming punk show $18 USD and non-vaccinated attendees a considerably higher $999.99 USD.
To be eligible for the steep discount, ticket buyers will need to produce the physical COVID-19 vaccination card along with a government-issued photo ID. Attendees should have received both shots of Pfizer or Moderna, or a single Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine shot on or before June 12th to qualify.
“We are NOT telling you what to do here, we are making a business decision and letting the market decide,” reads the Leadfoot Productions website. “If someone wants to come in unvaccinated, they will scare off a large number of patrons and will need to pay the difference.”
In an interview with ABC News, promoter Paul Williams elaborated.
“I also wanted it to be a vaccine drive to get the fence-sitters off the fence. I wanted to get the kids that want to go to shows to go out and get their shots.”
The concert is scheduled for June 26 in St. Petersburg and will feature performances from three punk rock bands: Teenage Bottlerocket, MakeWar and Rutterkin. Teenage Bottlerocket member Ray Carlisle initially thought the ticket prices were a hoax but quickly realized this was a genuine offer. Carlisle supports the sentiment behind the promotion.
“He’s doing his best to keep the audience and the band safe and the staff at the venue safe,” Carlisle said in an interview “and we go along with this idea.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill that fines businesses $5,000 per violation for those that require customers to present proof of being vaccinated for COVID-19.
DeSantis stated, “In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision.”
The bill takes effect July 1, a few days after the concert. The governor’s office told the Washington Post that the concert’s ticket pricing violates Florida’s rules: “Charging higher ticket prices for individuals who do not furnish proof of vaccination unfairly discriminates against people who have enumerated rights under Florida law.”
Since news of the unorthodox offer broke, Williams admits that he has received spam calls, anti-vaccination Facebook messages, and a threatening email.
“I didn’t know that caring about my community would make me Hitler,” he said.