So, it’s been a while.
You’re fully vaccinated, and you’re itching to head to Lumen Field and scream at the top of your unmasked lungs. Wednesday’s match against Real Salt Lake will present the first chance for fans en masse to populate the lower bowl to support the Sounders unfiltered for the first time since a March 7, 2020 match against the Columbus Crew.
The last couple of matches against Atlanta United and Austin FC provided a bit of a dry run, with the supporters’ section open to those who have been fully vaccinated. Things scale up significantly, however, with the entire lower bowl open to vaccinated fans for the next three games, through the July 7 match against the Houston Dynamo. The Sounders’ phased approach is designed to allow them to ramp up, as the state of Washington prepares to fully reopen on June 30.
The next phase
- As mentioned, the next three games represent a transitional step, whereby the club is opening Lumen Field to full capacity throughout the lower bowl. Current State of Washington health regulations requires proof of full vaccination for fans to attend in full-capacity sections. Children ages 5-15 who are not fully vaccinated or not eligible to be vaccinated can attend in full capacity sections with proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of kickoff. There is no onsite testing available. Testing must be completed independently prior to match day.
In order to qualify as fully vaccinated, a fan must have received the second dose of a two-dose vaccine series (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna) or the single dose of the one-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson / Jansen) at least two weeks (14 days) prior to the match. For example, to be eligible to attend the June 23 home match in the lower bowl, such vaccination must be administered on or before June 9.
Eligible fans sitting in full capacity (vaccinated) sections do not have to wear a mask at any time, but the Sounders are encouraging fans to do so.
Verification of vaccination status
Per the Sounders, the following methods are acceptable as proof of full vaccination (if 12 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 vaccine 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 health care provider cannot be accepted.
Proof of negative Covid-19 test
For fans who have not been vaccinated, they may still attend games in the vaccinated sections with proof of a negative Covid-19 test. Acceptable forms of proof include the following:
- Printed document (from the test provider or laboratory).
- An email or text message displayed on a phone or electronic device from the test provider or laboratory. The information provided should include name of person tested, type of test performed and date of negative test result.
Self-reported vaccine documents or negative test results that are not from a test provider, a laboratory, or a healthcare provider will not be accepted. Virginia Mason Franciscan Health volunteers will be staffed at gates to verify vaccination cards. The Sounders are also seeking volunteers to help verify vaccination status. Those volunteers will be given free tickets to an upcoming game.
Importantly, documentation of vaccination status and personal identification documentation must be available upon request at any time. Anyone without proof of vaccination or a negative test as described above is not permitted to enter the vaccinated sections, or could be asked to leave.
March to the Match
ECS is resuming their March to the Match activities on Wednesday. As of yet, the Sounders have not announced any formal participation which means this might be more of a throwback to the USL days when it was just a big group of supporters walking, singing and waving flags on the way to the match. It’s expected to leave Occidental Square an hour before kickoff.
Due to the expected increase in attendance, as well as the special activities planned for Pride Month, the Sounders are suggesting that fans arrive early, as entry may take slightly longer than usual due to the required vaccination verification processes.
For those who are not currently vaccinated, or do not present a negative Covid-19 test, Pod seating remains an option. The same protocols remain in place for those sections, All fans in pod seating must wear masks unless actively eating or drinking with social distancing enforced.
Starting with the July 25 match against Sporting Kansas City — but potentially as soon as the July 7 match against the Houston Dynamo — Lumen Field will operate at full capacity for Sounders matches. No vaccination requirement will be in place after that time.