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Seating expansion, vaccinated sections another ‘milestone’ on return to normal

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Sounders will have nine sections available to vaccinated fans starting on May 23.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

It’s another small step towards a return to normalcy in the region.

The Seattle Sounders on Tuesday announced that they will expand seating and open vaccinated sections starting on May 23, when Atlanta United visits Lumen Field. The announcement, first reported by Sounder at Heart last week, will allow fans who have received both vaccinations and passed the waiting period to “stand side-by-side with fellow Sounders FC fans in the comfort of knowing that everyone is fully vaccinated and verified accordingly,” per a release from the team.

The sections are being sold at 100 percent capacity, according to the team. There was no official word on how many seats would be available but the nine sections should expand capacity by at least 4,000. Fans who attend matches at Lumen Field in these sections will still be required to wear masks as well as provide valid documentation of vaccination.

“Vaccination throughout our community is how we are going to get back to normal, and today’s news is another significant marker in that effort,” Sounders President of Business Operations Peter Tomozawa said in a team statement. “The ability to host vaccinated sections inside Lumen Field is an important milestone in the fight against COVID-19. I know we all want to see those limited vaccination sections turn into a full stadium of support for our team, and vaccines are how we get there.”

The Sounders will make tickets to those sections available to Sounders FC Season Ticket Members starting on May 17. Members who were unable to purchase during the club’s first on-sale are also being prioritized, according to the team.

The protocols are outlined as follows:

VACCINATED SEATING SECTIONS

For both the May 23 match vs. Atlanta United and the May 30 contest vs. Austin FC, vaccinated sections are being offered at Lumen Field. The sections that are included as vaccinated sections are the Emerald City Supporters section in the south end of Lumen Field (lower 121-123) and sections 304-309 in the east 300 level.

Eligibility for these new vaccination sections is based on the following protocols:

  • “Fully vaccinated” indicates that on the date of the match, it has been at least two weeks (14 days) since an individual and anyone they are purchasing a ticket for (16+) received the second dose in a two-dose vaccine series (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) or the single dose of the one-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson / Jansen).
  • Fans 16 and older who are fully vaccinated and show valid vaccination documentation can purchase tickets.
  • Children older than two and less than 16 years of age can sit in a fully vaccinated section but must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of kickoff using a PCR test or within 24 hours of kickoff using a rapid test.
  • There is no onsite testing available. Testing must be completed independently prior to matchday.
  • The Emerald City Supporters sections are only for those that are 16 and older who are fully vaccinated.

PROOF OF VACCINATION

The following methods are acceptable as proof of full vaccination (if 16 years or older):

  • Vaccination card (which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided and date last dose administered).
  • A photo of a vaccination card as a separate document.
  • A photo of the attendee’s vaccination card stored on a phone or electronic device.
  • Documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider, electronic health record or state Immunization Information System record.

Self-reported vaccination records that are not verified by a healthcare provider cannot be accepted. For children between the ages of 2 and 15, proof of a negative Covid-19 test within 24-72 hours depending on the type of test administered.

The rest of the stadium will continue as physically distanced sections and sold in single household pods of 1-6 tickets, with at least six feet of distance between each pod. Proof of vaccination, or negative Covid-19 tests are not required to sit in those sections. Face masks continue to be required throughout the building.