In yet another example of how corporate America is dealing with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and vaccine hesitancy, the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders have announced that it will now require all fans attending home games to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination before entering the stadium.
Jill Martin, Kay Jones and Eric Levenson of CNN reported that “the vaccine mandate will go into effect Sept. 13, the date of the team’s first regular-season home game, a Monday night showdown with the Baltimore Ravens. With this move, fans will be allowed to attend home games without wearing a mask.”
According to CNN, the Raiders’ vaccine/no-mask policy is the first of its kind within the NFL.
In a statement, Raiders owner Mark Davis said, “health and safety has always been our number one priority. After consultation with Governor Sisolak and other community leaders, this policy ensures that we will be able to operate at full capacity without masks for fully vaccinated fans for the entire season.”
CNN reported that “the new rule comes the same day that Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced new measures for large events in the state. Any event held in a venue of 4,000 or more people can either require masks for all attendees or grant masking exceptions for attendees who show proof of vaccination. Children under 12 and those who are partially vaccinated must still wear a mask indoors.”
Sisolak said that in addition to helping protect public health in the state, his goal and rationale for the policy is “to provide the private sector more options that come with a reward for the public — the ability to take off their mask during a concert or game if they’re fully vaccinated.”
While the NFL is working hard to encourage sports fans to get vaccinated, the league is also encouraging players behind the scenes to get the lifesaving shot.
“The league has granted broad freedoms to players who are vaccinated while requiring unvaccinated people to undergo onerous restrictions and constant testing,” CNN said. “The NFL has said that outbreaks among unvaccinated players could [also] lead to forfeits and hurt teams’ playoff hopes.”
One shining light of that initiative so far: the Atlanta Falcons recently announced that the entire roster had been vaccinated against COVID-19 — a perfect 100% vaccination rate and the first in NFL history.
“Each player will now enjoy the benefits of being able to work out and eat together,” team officials said. “They won’t have to test daily, won’t have to wear masks around the facility and won’t have to quarantine following a close contact with someone who tests positive.”