SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – If you are planning to attend a Utah Jazz game at Vivint Arena this season, you will need to be vaccinated or test negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of entering the venue. One Utah lawmaker isn’t happy about the announcement.
“As a community gathering place, we have a responsibility to protect our guests by putting health and safety standards in place,” says Jim Olson, president of Vivint Arena and the Utah Jazz in a press release issued on Friday. “The delta variant is a threat to the sports and entertainment industry and our community at large. We ask Jazz fans to get vaccinated to help stop the surge. We stand united with health care professionals on the importance of vaccinations. We believe this is the path forward to shut down this pandemic.”
Masks will not be mandated once fans are inside the building. The newest requirement will first be implemented when Vivint Arena hosts the NHL game between the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights on Sept. 30. Jazz games will begin with exhibition play on Oct. 11 and 13 with the home opener against Oklahoma City on Oct. 20.
Representative Chris Stewart (R-Utah) likely will not be among those attending any Jazz games this season.
Despite being vaccinated, and encouraging others able to get the shot to do so, Stewart says he “will never allow a private company to require that I show proof of any medical procedure to visit their facility.
In a Wednesday social media post, Stewart says he has “love the Jazz since [he] was a teenager.” He explains he and his family have followed them for years.
“More recently, in a world where so many things have turned contentious and divisive, the Jazz were an opportunity to bring us together,” Stewart continues. “That’s why I will miss them.”
Stewart explains he refuses to carry a ‘vaccination passport’ and “will never share any of [his] private medical information with anyone except [his] health providers.”
“So, though vaccinated, I will not be going to any Utah Jazz games this year. Next year, if the Jazz leadership changes their policy, maybe I’ll come back. Or maybe I’ll just move on,” he concludes.
The Jazz have been tied to headlines regarding the virus’ spread in the U.S. throughout the pandemic. Gobert’s reported contraction of COVID-19 prior to Utah’s road game against the Thunder on March 11 resulted in that night’s game being postponed as well as the temporary suspension of the entire NBA.
Vivint isn’t the only Utah venue requiring proof of vaccination. Sundance Film Festival, Park City Mountain Resort, the Utah Symphony, the Utah Opera, most colleges and universities, and Salt Lake City’s The State Room are among those requiring customers and guests to get the vaccine before entering.
Another lawmaker, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) has introduced bills to stop federal vaccine mandates. Lee and Stewart joined a group of colleagues calling on the CDC to explain their guidance that children 2-years-old and older should wear masks to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.