ASHBURN — Fans will be required to wear a mask indoors for Friday’s preseason game at FedEx Field — regardless of vaccination status — as part of Prince George’s County’s mask mandate, the Washington Football Team announced Tuesday.
The announcement is a change to the team’s mask policy, which only recommended fans wear a face covering if they’re unvaccinated. While outdoors, fans can be mask-free, though the team still recommends that unvaccinated individuals wear a mask when not eating or drinking.
According to the team, indoor areas include: “the team store, bathrooms, Club Level concourse, elevators, stairwells, corridors, mother’s room, conference rooms, offices, first aid stations, suites when the windows are installed or closed, and the Press Box.” Children under two do not have to wear a mask.
For those not in compliance, officials will first issue a verbal warning followed by removal from the stadium.
The team’s policy applies to the entire 2021 season, unless otherwise changed. Washington plays the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday in its preseason home opener. The team begins the season Sept. 12 against Los Angeles Chargers.
“Consistent with current public health guidance from Prince George’s County, The Washington Football Team has implemented health and safety protocols for the 2021 season,” the team’s website reads. “We place the highest priority on the safety of our fans, employees, coaching staff, and players. These policies will help provide a safe and enjoyable gameday experience for all guests at FedExField.”
Prince George’s County re-issued an indoor mask mandate on Aug. 5 due to surging coronavirus cases and the contagious nature of the Delta variant.
Washington is far from the only NFL team affected by city laws for the upcoming season. The New Orleans Saints announced that fans would have to prove vaccination status or produce a negative PCR COVID test within the last 72 hours to attend games this year at the Caesars Superdome — an indoor arena. Philadelphia and Baltimore are other cities that have issued mask mandates, and Chicago is set to join them.
On Tuesday, the Las Vegas Raiders announced it would be requiring fans to be vaccinated to attend Allegiant Stadium. Fans who don’t have the shot can get vaccinated at the stadium and attend the games while wearing a mask, the team said.
“Health and safety has always been our No. 1 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.”