It's easily one of (if not the) most controversial topics in the U.S. right now: to get vaccinated or to not get vaccinated against COVID-19. It's polarized people on all levels, including the NFL, where players like Cole Beasley remain vocal about his decision to decline it while other prominent individuals like Ron Rivera -- who fears for his health after having been treated for cancer in 2020 -- skewer those around the league who he feels aren't taking the well-being of others into account. The Las Vegas Raiders have just made their stance on the matter well-known, and definitive, with a new mandate that's sure to incite more conversation on the matter.
Any fan who wants to attend a game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas in 2021 is required to show proof of vaccination, the team announced on Monday. Once fans show proof through CLEAR's free mobile app and Health Pass feature, they're cleared to enter the building, and without wearing a mask.
"Health and safety has always been our number one priority," said owner Mark Davis. "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."
The policy goes into effect on Sept. 13, when the Raiders host the Baltimore Ravens on ESPN's "Monday Night Football."
The Raiders' vaccination mandate differs slightly from what's been put in place by the New Orleans Saints, as one example, with the Saints requiring fans to either be vaccinated or to show proof of a negative PCR text within 72 hours of attempting to enter the Superdome; and they'll still have to wear masks while in the building. And as for Las Vegas, the organization looked to be trending in this direction when, in May, they began requiring all full-time employees on business and football staffs to be vaccinated, as well as having employees of the stadium management company and stadium concessionaire adhere to the same mandate.
Any unvaccinated fans who show up to Allegiant Stadium on game day will have one final chance at getting into the building, with the Raiders offering vaccinations on-site and allowing newly-vaccinated persons to walk in and enjoy the game.
Last season, the Raiders were fined $800,000 by the NFL and NFLPA for violating COVID-19 protocols.