Updates: More on the COVID vaccine mandate and Twin Cities sports venues – Minneapolis Star Tribune
- by Indoor sports
Later this month, sports venues in the Twin Cities will see a large impact from the new COVID-19 ordinances that are going into effect for St. Paul and Minneapolis simply based on the attendance figures for venues like Xcel Energy Center, Target Center and Williams Arena.
The city ordinances will make fans attending indoor sports venues provide proof of vaccination against the infectious disease or a negative test, taken under medical supervision, in the previous 72 hours.
The rules will apply only to people over the age of 5 in St. Paul, and, after some initial confusion, Mayor Jacob Frey removed the mandate for children under 5 in Minneapolis, as well.
Here is what to expect at the major sports venues in town.
The University of Minnesota: The University of Minnesota system announced Friday it will put in place a temporary vaccination requirement for indoor events on all of its campuses. That will include athletic contests with more than 200 fans in attendance for the Gophers, Minnesota Duluth, Minnesota Crookston and Minnesota Morris. The university is not following the Minneapolis mandate — as it sits independent of city ordinances — but the rules for anyone over the age of 5 are the same. As of now, the mandate is only scheduled to be in place from Jan. 26 through Feb. 9. The policy will apply to men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s hockey, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field.
Target Center: The Timberwolves announced they will begin enforcing the ordinance at Target Center on Jan. 30 against the Utah Jazz. Initially the city of Minneapolis ruled that since children between 2 and 4 years old cannot be vaccinated, they would have to provide a negative COVID-19 test administered by a medical professional within 72 hours of any home game. But that mandate was removed on Friday and children under 5 will no longer be required to show proof of a negative test.
Xcel Energy Center: The Wild will begin enforcing the rule on Jan. 26, but it does not have a home game scheduled until March 1 against Calgary. The team will reschedule some of its recently postponed games for between Feb. 2 and Feb. 24. The Wild does not have any games currently scheduled in that stretch because the NHL was going to send players to the Olympics in Beijing, but that decision was reversed.
Allianz Field: The St. Paul ordinance will be in effect at Allianz Field, which is hosting the World Cup qualifier between the United States and Honduras on Feb. 2. Even though the venue is largely outdoors, it does have a number of indoor spaces — including concourses that fans have to pass through to enter the stadium and the Brew Hall. The executive order from St. Paul Mayor Melvin Carter states venues will have to check for proof of vaccination or a negative test of patrons “any time that food and/or drink is sold or served indoors for consumption on site.”