PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – The Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns FC will require fans above the age of 12 to provide proof of vaccination before they can enter Providence Park beginning on August 25.
The park is also admitting entrance to those who have a negative PCR test taken 48 hours prior to kickoff.
Mike Golub, Timbers and Thorns FC president of business, said the teams felt a responsibility to change the entrance policy in light of the fast-spreading Delta variant.
“This is not a place any of us thought we’d be, but the spread of the Delta variant and risk to unvaccinated children made it an easy decision until the situation improves,” Golub said. “Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is safe, free, effective and the quickest way to end this pandemic.”
The football clubs said acceptable forms of proof are a CDC vaccination card, a photocopy of the card or a photo of the card on a mobile device.
For entry into the stadium, cardholders must be at least two weeks past receiving their second dose in a two-dose series of the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines, or a single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
The policy will not apply to the upcoming Women’s International Champions Cup matches on Wednesday and Saturday.
All attendees over 5 years old are required to follow Oregon’s statewide mask mandate and wear face coverings when not in their seats, Timbers and Thorns representatives said in the announcement. Once seated, masks are optional but recommended.
Most fans supportive of the plan
Just last month, Providence Park allowed capacity crowds after the pandemic dictated fanless games and then 25% capacity.
Most Thorns and Timbers fans who spoke with KOIN 6 News support the new vaccine or testing requirement.
“A big part of the fan base is young kids and they are not able to get vaccinated,” said Thorns fan Julie Kimes. “So putting these precautions in place is just going to limit these things so we can continue to attend and support the team.”
Golub said they’re prepared to have some pushback against the vaccine mandate.
“We’re prepared. There are going to be people who voice their views and may not have the right documentation,” he said. “We’ll deal with that on a case-by-case basis but we’re prepared. We’ve trained our people and I think it’s going to be a non-issue.”
Elizabeth Pantanosan is a Thorns fan who just recently started venturing outside her home after being vaccinated. She supports the new rules but wishes TriMet would do more to enforce masks to protect fans riding to the games.
“On buses they make sure they do,” Pantanosan said. “But on the MAX you can’t say anything to anyone.”
Some Thorns fans are against all vaccine mandates.
Karen Leby told KOIN 6 News she will never get vaccinated because she doesn’t believe health officials who claim hospitals are full of unvaccinated people.
“I’ve heard different. I’ve heard it’s the other way around,” Leby said. “Most of the people being accepted in the hospitals have been vaccinated.”
For the record: the Oregon Health Authority has data on their COVID dashboard that shows the level of hospitalizations by county, and the county vaccination rate.