SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Rudy Gobert won’t be the only line of defense at Utah Jazz games at Vivint Arena this season. Arena officials are also setting up a roadblock against the spread of COVID-19 by requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours of the event for entry to the downtown entertainment venue by patrons over 12.
While attendees will be required to present the appropriate documentation for entry, masks will not be mandated once inside the building.
“As a community gathering place, we have a responsibility to protect our guests by putting health and safety standards in place,” said 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.”
The new requirement will be first be implemented when the arena plays host to preseason NHL action between the Los Angeles Kings and the 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.
The Jazz has been tied to headlines regarding the virus’ spread in the United States throughout the pandemic. Gobert’s reported contraction of COVID-19 prior to Utah’s road game against the Thunder on March 11, 2020, resulted in that night’s game being postponed as well as the temporary suspension of the entire NBA. It also essentially kicked off the start of the quarantine and shutdown period in the United States.
After finishing the 2019-2020 season in a bubble at Walt Disney World, the NBA, including the Jazz gradually built up the in-person attendance at games during the 2020-21 campaign.
Utah finished last season with the best regular-season record in the league but was knocked out of the postseason by the L.A. Clippers in six games in the second round.