The Las Vegas Raiders announced this week that fans will be required to provide proof of vaccination on their cellphones in order to attend home games, becoming the first team in the National Football League to implement such a mandate.
Furthermore, in one of the stranger addendums to a vaccine mandate policy yet, the organization offered to give unvaccinated fans a jab in the parking lot on their way in. Those fans then would be permitted entry but would need to wear a mask during the event.
In a news release issued Monday, the team said that fans will be required to display their vaccination using "CLEAR's free mobile app and Health Pass feature." The policy will go into effect ahead of the team's regular-season opener against the Baltimore Ravens on Sept. 13.
Further details regarding the mobile app program and the on-site vaccination initiative were scheduled to be outlined during a news conference Tuesday afternoon at Allegiant Stadium.
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The new rule was implemented in response to a state directive regarding large events issued by Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak. On Monday, Sisolak announced a health advisory change for large event organizers that allows them to host a mask-free event so long as everyone in attendance is vaccinated against the coronavirus.
"Health and safety has always been our number one priority," Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement. "After consultation with Governor Sisolak and other community leaders, this policy ensures that we will be able to operate at full capacity without masks for fully vaccinated fans for the entire season."
In May, the Raiders announced a policy requiring all full-time staff in both the football and business operations to be fully vaccinated against the virus. Shortly after, Allegiant Stadium's management company, ASM, implemented a vaccine mandate for full-time staff, as well.
It remains to be seen if more NFL teams will follow in the Raiders' footsteps as the season approaches. Last year during the pandemic, fans were largely barred from attending games until later in the season when certain teams opened up stadiums with extremely limited capacity.
Vaccines have been a controversial subject since the start of training camp when the league announced stringent health protocols intended to make life more miserable for unvaccinated players as part of an effort to encourage vaccinations.
In response, several players — including Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins and Buffalo Bills slot receiver Cole Beasley — expressed outrage at the rules.