It’s been tricky for bands to navigate returning to the road amidst the pandemic and taking new measures to provide the safest COVID regulations possible. But two of the biggest bands in the biz have gone deeper in their quest for safety by employing COVID sniffing dogs to seek out anyone in their touring parties that might have contracted the virus. According to Rolling Stone, both Metallica and Tool have utilized the canines to assist in each act’s COVID approach.
According to the report, Metallica hired the Ohio-based Bio Detection K9 business for several of their fall dates, while Tool will use a different team of dogs when their tour kicks off. The company has been in business over a decade now, pre-dating the recent pandemic while utilizing their dogs to detect viruses, bacteria and fungus. The company’s dogs (12 are currently in service with seven or eight more in training) are trained specifically for COVID-19 and its various strains, and do not respond to seasonal flus and colds. The program was started in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other government agencies.
“So far, knock on wood, the dogs have been knocking it out of the park,” says John Peets of Metallica management company Q Prime. “We haven’t had a dog miss anybody.”
It should be noted that the COVID-sniffing dogs have not been put to use to suss out entire concert audiences, but rather utilized to examine smaller groups of people. “We don’t search whole stadiums; that is not what we are there for,” Shawn Reed, the director of training and operations for Bio Detection K9, told SWVA Today. “I don’t take a dog and search a crowd of 60,000 people.
Explaining a bit of the process, Reed went on to reveal that people are asked to wear a face mask for at least 10 minutes prior to the test in order to provide a more concentrated sample for the dog. After doing so, they then stand with the mask in their hand as the dog walks by.
Bio-Detection K9. Company president Jerry Johnson added that he had worked with dog teams in Iraq and Afghanistan. After about six weeks of training, the canines are taught to sniff people’s hands and feet and if they react by sitting down, it means they detected the virus.
In addition to Metallica, Bio Detection K9 has worked with country superstar Eric Church, rockers Twenty One Pilots and they’ve worked with NASCAR and the Chicago Marathon for past events.