The Las Vegas Raiders are one of the first NFL teams to require fans to show proof of vaccination if they want to attend home games this season. Unvaccinated people can also get a first shot on-site and wear a mask at games until they are fully vaccinated.
“It’s not just about you. It’s about the person sitting next to you,” said Raiders owner Mark Davis at a news conference this week. “That’s who we are trying to protect as well.”
Fans will show proof through a mobile app and can attend games without wearing a mask, while unvaccinated people who refuse a shot can either get a refund or roll over their season tickets to next year.
Nevada has struggled with a rise in COVID-19 cases this summer and has implemented a mask mandate and other restrictions for high transmission areas including Las Vegas. The Raiders’ announcement came shortly after Gov. Steve Sisolak introduced new guidance for large gatherings in the state, saying that groups of fully vaccinated people can be together without wearing a mask.
The football organization is starting its second season in the city and called the vaccination mandate a “tough decision,” but one they were willing to make.
“We hope we don’t lose any Raiders fans because they are the most important thing to us,” Davis said.
The NFL is allowing each team to make its own decisions regarding COVID-19 safety precautions for fans. The New Orleans Saints are also requiring either proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to attend games.
Elsewhere in the West, the Arizona Cardinals are encouraging attendees to wear masks while at games but aren’t requiring vaccination. The Denver Broncos say they will keep areas sanitized but they have not encouraged fans to wear masks. They will, however, host a vaccination clinic on Thursday and are encouraging fans to get the shot.
This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, the O'Connor Center for the Rocky Mountain West in Montana, KUNC in Colorado, KUNM in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
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