COVID-19 vaccine proof and masks will be required at the Super Bowl LVI at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, but will the requirements be enforced?
Images showing maskless fans in the stands at the Rams-49ers NFC championship game spurred questions about whether it’s possible to ensure that the audience follows COVID-19 safety requirements.
Enforcing vaccine requirements
Fans will be asked to show vaccine proof and ID cards when entering the stadium, organizers said.
Attendees aged 5 and older must provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours, or a negative antigen rapid test taken within 24 hours of the big game. Those aged 18 and older are also required to also show their government IDs.
On game day, SoFi Stadium will have temporary entry gates that will allow the venue to check the vaccine status of everyone coming in, Jon Barker, head of Live Event Operations for the NFL, said during a media briefing last week.
“It gives us the luxury, frankly, and the opportunity to design those and build those to bring people through them and be able to do the verification,” Barker said. “We built not only the cue lines, we built a verification zone.”
After that checkpoint, fans will head to the security and ticket checkpoints, Barker said.
SoFi Stadium, though it has a roof, is considered an outdoor facility and follows L.A. County’s rules for “Mega Events” with more than 5,000 attendees.
The following can be used to show full vaccination status, according to the stadium’s website:
- The physical white CDC vaccination card
- A digital copy of the vaccine card
- A photo of the card on paper or stored on a phone
- Documentation of full vaccination from a health care provider
People are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their last required dose.
Enforcing mask requirements
As fans enter through the check points, they will also be reminded that they need to wear masks.
Regardless of vaccination status, all attendees aged 2 and older are required to wear a face covering at all times, except while actively eating or drinking.
“That doesn’t mean buy a bucket of popcorn and eat it for two hours … We are onto you,” Russ Simons, senior advisor of facilities including SoFi Stadium, said during the briefing.
Asked about enforcing mask requirements, officials stressed personal responsibility but said that there will be staff reminding people on every level to put their masks on, as well as “massive reminders” up on the video boards.
There will also be KN95 masks on every seat.
SoFi Stadium did not respond to questions from KTLA about how staff would deal with fans who refuse to mask up after being asked to.
“All of this is about our personal responsibility to do the right thing and what we’re asked, and it’s not a game of gotcha, like, ‘Oh, I got to go from here to there without my mask,'” Simons said last week.
Officials did acknowledge that it will be a challenge.
“There’s a thing called personal responsibility,” Inglewood Mayor James Butts said. “You can’t force everybody to wear a mask all the time.”
Last week, photos circulated of Gov. Gavin Newsom and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti maskless at the Rams-49ers NFC championship game at SoFi Stadium, drawing backlash.
Newsom and Garcetti both said they removed their mask only briefly to pose for the photos, which were shared by basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
County Supervisor Holly Mitchell said everyone has to mask up, whether “you’re in a suite or whether you are in whatever the cheapest tickets will be for the 13th.”
“L.A. County’s transmissions are still high. So now is not the time to let down our guard,” she said. “Masking is a modest requirement that works … and it certainly will not affect the attendance or our enjoyment of the game.”