With the Seattle Mariners fighting through another tough MLB season, the organization recently decided to incentivise vaccinated fans to come to their games. Starting May 13, the Mariners decided to allow for up to 5,000 vaccinated fans that have shown proof of vaccination to attend home games. There will also be a special vaccinated seating section where social distancing is not required.
Considering the outdoor setting of Mariners games, social distancing is not enforced. However, masks are still required inside the stadium for unvaccinated fans.
Even with the new policy, not all fans choose to wear masks at their seats. With limited capacity and games played mostly outside, social distancing is not hard to follow. Most fans are seen wearing masks below their noses or completely off at their seats.
Local Mariners fan Alberto Reyes continues to wear his mask despite receiving his first vaccine dose. His friend Terrell Broadous wears his mask at all times because he is not fully vaccinated.
“This is our first game back since the pandemic started and we are feeling good about it. We are sitting pretty close together so we have our masks on, but when we are eating and drinking we do not. As long as I am not eating or drinking I try to keep my mask on at all times,” Reyes said.
Fans are not required to be vaccinated to attend games. Terrell Broadous is among those who are not yet vaccinated.
“I am not vaccinated yet. I am just going to see how everything plays out and we will see from there. That is definitely one of the reasons why we are keeping our masks on, for our safety and everybody else’s safety,” Broadous said.
Fully vaccinated fans have the option to register their status before the game regardless of their seats. The team will allow fans not to wear their masks if they are vaccinated and have shown proof of their vaccination status. At the gate, fans must show their vaccination card to validate it has been two weeks since one’s second dose of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one shot of the Johnson and Johnson. Rewards and a wristband will be given after proof is verified.
Zarit Za Monroy and her family had the wristbands for the Mariners game despite not sitting in the vaccinated section. Monroy has seen more people not wearing masks as much as she has been to multiple games this year.
“This is our sixth time seeing the Mariners play this season. A lot of people are not wearing masks compared to the first few games we went to where everyone had their masks on. I think if people are fully vaccinated then they have an exception to not wear a mask,” Monroy said. “We personally do not wear our masks at our seats because we are fully vaccinated. We are not sitting in the vaccinated section, but I do have the wristband identifying that I am fully vaccinated.”
Wristbands are offered, but they are not required. While a fully vaccinated fan may not have a wristband, they are not required to wear masks at their seats. Kelly Quinlan is a nurse who wears their masks when around other people.
“We have not been wearing our masks in our seats. But when we are walking around we have our masks on at all times. At our seats, we are socially distanced so we don’t wear them all the time,” Quinlan said.
The trend of not wearing masks when sitting is common amongst fans. Whether they are fully vaccinated or not, the stadium is outdoors and the seating sections are spread out. As a result, the risk of spread is low.
Todd Nixon of Los Angeles is visiting Seattle and feels safe in the stadium.
“I don’t wear my mask because we are sitting at a distance and are vaccinated. I feel absolutely safe at the ballpark and here in Seattle in general,” Nixon said.
With summer approaching and more people being vaccinated, the Mariners may continue to allow more fans to enter games. As spring quarter comes to a close, Mariners games may provide summer entertainment for Seattle University students looking to enjoy America’s favorite pastime.