- The Las Vegas Raiders are one of a number of professional and collegiate sports teams requiring fans be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend home games.
- The NFL has previously taken a hard stand on rescheduling games postponed by COVID outbreaks among unvaccinated players.
- The Atlanta Falcons are the first NFL team to vaccinate 100% of their players. League-wide, 91% of NFL players are vaccinated.
The Las Vegas Raiders are one of the most high profile of a growing number of businesses that are done playing games with the anti-vaxxer conspiracy nuts that are unnecessarily prolonging the COVID-19 pandemic. If you want to attend a Raiders’ home game at Allegiant Stadium this fall you’ll have to be vaccinated. If you’re not, the Raiders will operate a vaccination clinic at the stadium. For fully vaccinated fans, masks will not be required. Masks will be required for fans that get vaccinated at the game, those who are just partially vaccinated or kids under the age 11 who are not currently eligible to be vaccinated.
The Raiders are partnering with CLEAR to facilitate the process of verifying fans’ vaccination information. CLEAR kiosks are a common sight at most major US airports and they’ve recently expanded their services to offer vaccination verification tools for businesses and venues such as Allegiant Stadium. The process is a simple one–download the CLEAR app to your phone, upload you vaccine card, ID and a photo of your face. Once that’s done, the fan will use the app to display a QR code and a photo for the stadium event staff to verify vaccination status. Don’t think of using a bogus vaccination card to try and get over–that’s a Federal offense. If you’re the type of person who gets their medical information from right wing lunatics on social media you wouldn’t do well in prison.
The Raiders made the move in response to an emergency directive by Nevada governor Steve Sisolak as the Delta variant runs rampant over the Silver State. Sisolak revived an indoor mask mandate but provided options for organizers to be exempt from the mandate at large events. Raiders’ owner Mark Davis explained his thought process behind the mandatory vaccination stipulation for home games:
“Health and safety has always been our No. 1 priority. After consultation with Gov. 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.”
“That’s (consistency) one thing we’re looking for more than anything with the pandemic. We did the same thing last year. To get consistency, we didn’t let anybody go. I’m grateful for the governor giving us an option to continue with masks or nip it in the bud right now and go maskless and no attendance limits throughout the season. There was no real choice; this was the right way to go.”
If there are tinfoil hat wearing Raiders fans that are adamant about not getting vaccinated they can roll their tickets over to next season, get a refund or sell them on the secondary market.
Earlier this year, the Raiders started requiring all full-time employees on the business and football staffs of the organization to be vaccinated. Stadium management company ASM and stadium concessionaire Levy also require vaccinations for full-time staff at the stadium. For now at least, the mandatory vaccination only applies to Raiders’ home games and not other events at Allegiant Stadium. For example, if you are looking for tickets to the August 27 Guns ‘n’ Roses show at Allegiant you’ll be met with this disclaimer:
Raiders’ owner Davis said he didn’t know what stadium management would do for other events at the venue:
“We never try to dictate others. We just tried to do what’s right, and health and safety are always No. 1, and we feel this is the best way to do it.”
Clark County Commissioner Michael Naft praised the NFL team for their policy:
“The Las Vegas Raiders are making the right choice to protect fans and visitors at Allegiant Stadium. By utilizing Gov. Sisolak’s new directive, they are showing their commitment to the health and well-being of our entire community.”
You can expect to see more policies of this sort implemented sooner rather than later. The NFL has already taken a hard stand against COVID outbreaks caused by unvaccinated players and it’s only fitting that fans be required to act like an adult if they want to attend games. The league player vaccination rate stands at 91% and recently the Atlanta Falcons became the first NFL team to achieve 100% player vaccinations.