Dave Chappelle will require COVID-19 antigen tests of Foxwoods concertgoers

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Mar. 23—MASHANTUCKET — Comedian Dave Chappelle will require ticket holders heading to his two June performances at Foxwoods Resort Casino to pass COVID-19 antigen tests, the casino confirmed Tuesday.

Tickets to the scheduled shows — June 25 and 26 at the Grand Theater in The Fox Tower — will go on sale at noon Friday. Prices ranging from $99 to $349 will include the cost of the mandatory testing, according to a Foxwoods spokeswoman.

The theater will seat 3,600 people for each of the shows, about 91% of its full capacity of 3,959.

"Safety is a top priority and precautions are being implemented to protect fans, artists and staff, referencing current local, statewide and federal public health guidelines," Chappelle said Monday in an announcement. "Additionally, each ticket holder will receive a mandatory rapid COVID-19 antigen test prior to entering the venue. Patrons who traveled together to Foxwoods, with negative test results, will be allowed entry; refunds will be available for those households who receive a positive result."

Antigen tests detect proteins, or antigens, that indicate the presence of COVID-19. They generally are faster and cheaper though less accurate than the more common PCR tests that require sending samples away to a laboratory. The antigen tests to be performed at Foxwoods will involve nasal swabs, according to the Foxwoods spokeswoman, and will yield results within 15 minutes.

Vaccinated ticket holders will not be exempt from the testing.

Chappelle, the 2019 recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, tested positive for COVID-19 in January, causing him to cancel some performances. He announced he would require antigen testing of audiences in Houston, where he was scheduled to deliver the first of three stand-up performances Tuesday night.

The 47-year-old comedian has performed more than 1,800 concerts worldwide in the past four years, according to his publicity.

In February, the COVID Collaborative, a group of experts in public health, education and the economy, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health reported poll results indicating 86% of Americans would be willing to test themselves with at-home rapid antigen tests to fight the spread of COVID-19.

If the antigen testing is free, the poll found, most Americans approve of requiring antigen tests in a variety of situations to reopen the economy and society in general, including at U.S. borders (92%), in schools (83%), at sports venues (81%), at workplaces (79%), at entertainment venues (79%) and for public transportation (74%).

For details about Chappelle's performances at Foxwoods, visit www.foxwoods.com/dave-chappelle.

b.hallenbeck@theday.com