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COVID vaccines will be offered at Merriweather Post Pavilion concerts this season

Beginning Saturday, Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia will offer COVID-19 vaccinations to concert attendees throughout its upcoming season.

Vaccines at the popular outdoor venue, which has been closed to concerts since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic last year, will be administered by the Howard County Department of Fire and Rescue Services’ Mobile Integrated Community Health team and Howard County Health Department nurses, according to a news release from the county. All three vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration — the two-dose Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, as well as the single-dose Johnson & Johnson — will be available.

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“Howard County has made tremendous progress in vaccinating our residents, leading the state across demographics, but we’re not stopping until we’ve reached anyone who still wants or needs a vaccine,” Howard County Executive Calvin Ball said in a statement. “Merriweather attracts visitors of all ages, from all over our region, and this is a clear opportunity to ensure that we’re removing barriers and providing access to vaccine to more people.”

Merriweather opens its season this weekend with the M3 Rock Festival, featuring Queensryche, Kix and Night Ranger, running from Friday to Sunday.

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“Merriweather is so excited to be reopening this weekend,” Jean Parker, Merriweather general manager, said in a statement. “We are equally as thrilled to team together with the Howard County Health Department and Fire and Rescue providing easy access to vaccines while enjoying live music again.”

At the first clinic Saturday, vaccinations will be located in the concession stand area of the South Plaza. The health department will stock 100 doses per event at a minimum, according to the release.

“This valuable partnership between the health department and the [Mobile Integrated Community Health team] is one that has allowed Howard County to successfully vaccinate so many of our citizens,” Dr. Maura Rossman, Howard County health officer, said in a statement. “Working together at Merriweather is yet another unique example of meeting people where they are and making it easy to get needed health care, like the COVID vaccine.”

The state-run mass vaccination site at The Mall in Columbia, which opened April 30, will close permanently Saturday. As of June 13, the site in the former Lord & Taylor space has only been offering the single-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine and second shots of the two-dose vaccines.

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The county health department is continuing to offer community COVID-19 vaccine clinics at sites across Howard, including at schools and farmers markets.

As of Monday, almost 70% of Howard’s total population has received at least the first dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or the Johnson & Johnson, according to the Maryland Department of Health. In addition, 65.1% of Howard residents are fully vaccinated, making it the jurisdiction with the highest vaccination percentage in the state.

“We hope that having a presence at Merriweather will encourage concertgoers to take full advantage of this vaccination opportunity with ease,” county Fire Chief William Anuszewski said in a statement.

According to Merriweather’s website, the following COVID-19 guidelines will be in place as of this Friday:

  • Any individual entering Merriweather who is not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 is required to wear a mask at all times. Those who are fully vaccinated will not be required to wear a mask.
  • Those who have a fever or are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 should not enter the facility.
  • All patrons should use mobile ticketing whenever possible to limit contact.
  • All food and beverage concession stands will be cashless and will only accept credit card payments.
  • Backpacks will not be permitted, and all other bags are subject to search.
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