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Next Sounders game will have expanded mask mandate, vax mandate to follow

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Fans will need to show proof of vaccination starting Oct. 2.

MLS: Atlanta United FC at Seattle Sounders FC Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Following King County guidelines, Seattle Sounders fans attending matches will be required to wear masks throughout the stadium starting with the next home game on Sept. 11. Starting on Oct. 3, the Sounders will also be implementing a vaccine mandate.

The Sounders announced on Tuesday that in partnership with the Seattle Seahawks and Lumen Field operator First & Goal, fans 12 years old and above will be required to show proof of vaccination status to attend matches. The Seahawks will begin enforcing the mandate on Sept. 19, their first home game of the regular season. The updated regulations include an immediate adoption of King County’s expanded mask mandate for large events, including the plans to require proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative FDA-approved test for entry to games and events.

“Sounders FC is proud to work with our friends at the Seahawks to take steps forward together in supporting public health,” said Sounders FC Owner & President of Business Operations Peter Tomozawa in a team release. “As excited as we have been to welcome fans back to Lumen Field this season, we recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic is not yet over and we want to do everything in our power to continue to provide a safe and comfortable match day experience to everyone who comes out to the stadium.”

Fans who are not fully vaccinated or do not wish to participate in vaccination verification may still be granted entry with proof of a negative FDA-approved COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of kickoff according to the updated guidelines. At-home, self-administered test results will not be accepted and there is no onsite testing available, so testing must be completed independently prior to match day. Children younger than 12 are allowed to enter, with no testing proof required, though they must adhere to the prescribed mask mandate.

“Since July, COVID-19 cases have increased rapidly in King County,” Gabriel Spitzer wrote on Public Health Insider, King County’s official communication website. “The worsening outbreak is affecting all of us. And, people who are not fully vaccinated are getting seriously ill and dying at much higher rates than the vaccinated population.”

Qualifying as fully vaccinated:

According to the new guidelines, 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. To be eligible to attend the Oct. 3 home match, the final vaccine dose must have been administered on or before Sept. 19.

Acceptable methods of verification:

Per the updated guidelines, the following methods are acceptable as proof of full vaccination (Self-reported vaccination records that are not verified by a healthcare provider will not be accepted):

• CLEAR mobile app Health Pass verification.

• Vaccination card (which includes name of person vaccinated, type of vaccine provided and date of 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.

The Sounders may request proof of documentation of vaccination status and personal identification documentation at any time while at Lumen Field, and anyone without proof of vaccination or a negative test as described above will not be permitted entry to matches beginning Oct. 3 and through the remainder of the 2021 season and postseason.

The requirements are in response to increasing rates of positive tests throughout the country. In King County there are approximately 600 new infections each day, an increase of nearly 500% compared to this time last year. The virus death rate has also increased, with local hospitals reporting an average of about 3.5 deaths every day.