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No masks needed for fully vaccinated fans (and there won’t be unvaccinated fans) at Barclays

2021 NBA Playoffs - Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images

Monday is the deadline for the city’s new COVID guidelines requiring indoor sports venues to ban unvaccinated fans (and staff.) That of course includes Barclays Center where Nets fans will be back in the arena starting with a preseason game vs. the Bucks on October 8. The Liberty also have their final WNBA regular season game on September 17.

However, the Nets appear to have loosened their mask policy over the last month. Norman Oder of Atlantic Yards/Pacific Park Report reported on August 14 that the arena had quietly updated its mask policy 10 days earlier to require all fans to wear masks at all times inside the building, specifically stating...

Unless advised otherwise, face masks will be required of all patrons over the age of 2. (Irrespective of vaccine status.)

On Thursday, Oder noted that the mask policy had changed again. As he reported, the current policy states:

Fully vaccinated individuals are not required to wear a mask inside Barclays Center. Everyone else over age 2 must wear a mask at all times while in the venue, except while actively eating or drinking. Please check back periodically for any updates with respect to this mandate.

As Oder (and more than a few fans) have noted, enforcement of the mask requirement was going to be unwieldly as best — and indeed it went beyond the city’s own requirements. Also, arena patrons were permitted to remove masks to eat either at their seats or at the arena’s restaurants (which are being upgraded for the coming season.) And how would the mask policy affect the arena experience since fans “would surely want to shout or sing at games and concerts?”

A spokesperson for the arena told NetsDaily that the bottom line for Nets fans is that the “difference between now and the playoffs is that fully vaccinated individuals don’t have to wear their masks on the concourse.” Masks had been required of all fans, whether vaccinated or unvaccinated, on the concourse during the Nets home playoff games. Now, of course, other than children, there will be no unvaccinated fans in the building.

Moreover, the spokesperson explained that while city regs permit people with one shot to attend indoor events, Barclays will require those fans to wear a mask since they do not qualify as “fully vaccinated.”

Oder also detailed what Barclays Center’s vaccination policy towards children who cannot yet get the jab. It will place an additional requirements on adults bringing children to games or concerts...

Children under age 12 – not currently eligible for COVID-19 vaccination – can attend events with a vaccinated individual, but please note:

Children ages 5 to 11 must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test (an antigen test taken within six hours of the event start time, or a PCR test taken within 72 hours of the day of the event)

Children under age 4 will not be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test

Children ages 3 to 11 must wear a mask while inside the venue, except while actively eating or drinking.

The critic and chronicler also included in his story how Madison Square Garden mask rules are similar.