Fans ages 12 and older attending Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey games at the accesso ShoWare Center in Kent will be required to proof of COVID-19 vaccination.
The T-Birds made the announcement late Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 7, just hours after the Seattle Kraken said in a press release it would require vaccinations for the sold-out NHL preseason game Oct. 2 at the ShoWare Center and for all Kraken games at the new Climate Pledge Arena in Seattle.
“We want to take every reasonable measure to promote a healthier and safer environment when attending Thunderbirds games,” said team president, Colin Campbell, who said the policy will start with the Kraken preseason game against the Calgary Flames and the T-Birds home opener on Oct. 9 against the Portland Winterhawks.
In accordance with current Washington state and King County mask mandates, fans and staff will also be required to wear masks at all times except while actively eating or drinking.
“By announcing the policy today, the team is ensuring that fans, who are not yet vaccinated can do so ahead of the first event in the (Climate Pledge) arena,” according to a Seattle Kraken press release. “People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series, such as the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine.”
ShoWare Center will follow what teams, artists and concert promoters want.
“Artists, concert promoters, sporting events, and all other shows may require proof of vaccination to attend their show, and we will follow their direction for guests entering the venue for that particular show,” ShoWare Center general manager Tim Higgins said in a Sept. 7 email. “We will update our website for all requirements that guests need to follow while attending an event. We ask that you continually check our website for any changes.”
Numerous other safety changes also are coming to the city-owned ShoWare Center.
“The accesso ShoWare Center has made significant health and safety enhancements to ensure our guests, staff, players and artists will have the confidence to attend events and feel safe again while gathering to enjoy live entertainment,” Higgins said.
Upcoming events include the Grupo Firme concert on Sept. 18, the Kraken vs. Calgary Flames NHL preseason game on Oct. 2 and the Seattle Thunderbirds junior hockey league home opener on Oct. 9. The T-Birds are the anchor tenant of the arena.
To reduce the amount of physical interaction between guests, the accesso ShoWare Center and the Seattle Thunderbirds will implement the following policies and procedures:
• Clear bag policy – Clear bags the size of 12”x 12” x 6” will only be allowed into the building. A clutch purse 4.5” x 6.5” will also be allowed. We are following what other venues in the region have been practicing, and this will enhance our security and minimize contact between our guests and staff, Higgins said.
• Walk-thru metal detectors – We have always had a security screening process in place with metal detecting wands. Higgins said the walk-thru units will replace the wands and create a more seamless entry into the venue.
• Cashless and mobile ordering- This is probably the biggest change you will see while attending an event, Higgins said. We will no longer be accepting cash when purchasing food and beverage. Credit cards and debit cards will only be accepted at all points of sale. We will accommodate for guests who are not able to purchase items with a credit card by offering the ability to purchase a pre-loaded debit card that can be used at the accesso ShoWare Center concession stands only.
• Smoke free facility – as we are currently a smoke free facility, we did allow for guests to exit the building in an area where we allowed smoking. Following other venues in our region we will no longer allow for exiting and re-entering, Higgins said.
“While attending an event you will notice enhanced sanitizing practices in all areas of the venue,” Higgins said. “ASM Global (which manages the arena through SMG) has created a program called venue shield that outlines procedures for cleaning and sanitization practices to help reduce the possibility for the spread of COVID-19. We have also upgraded filters in our building ventilating system with the CDC recommended MERV 13 filters.”
Higgins said the ShoWare Center will follow all local government guidance and mandates related to masking and vaccination requirements. At this time all guests will be required to wear a mask while attending events at the accesso ShoWare Center.
3 events canceled
With the resurgence of COVID -19 and the growing concern of the delta variant, the Reignman Music Festival, The Awakening Festival and Jeremy Camp have cancelled their shows this fall at the ShoWare Center, Higgins said. All three shows are being rescheduled for early 2022. The rescheduled dates are expected to be announced in the next few weeks.
Despite the recent cancellations, Higgins said things are looking up at the ShoWare Center, which shut down in March 2020.
“We are excited to be back doing what excites us, and bringing you live entertainment again,” he said.
To read more about the updated Safety and Security Policies visit accessoshowarecenter.com.