OKC Thunder to require vaccinations or negative tests for fans at upcoming games

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Darius Bazley
Posted at 12:16 PM, Sep 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-21 13:16:45-04

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma City Thunder fans will have to show they're responsible enough to attend games at the beginning of the team's upcoming season.

The organization announced Tuesday that fans coming to the newly-named Paycom Center will be required to provide proof of either full or partial COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours prior to the game.

The requirements come along with a "strong" recommendation for fans to wear masks while in the arena.

“As we continue to face serious health challenges from COVID-19, we must remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our community,” said Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett.

“While there are no perfect answers, our health experts tell us the vaccine has proven to be effective in slowing the spread of this virus, including the Delta variant. We feel the best option to help keep our community safe is to make sure those who attend our games have a reduced chance of contracting or spreading the virus."

The NBA will later release additional guidelines for people sitting courtside.

These policies will be in place through at least the first 12 games of the preseason and regular season starting Oct. 4.

The same policy will apply to fans coming to the Thunder's Oct. 14 preseason game at Tulsa's BOK Center.

“The spread of COVID-19 throughout Oklahoma these past couple of months has taken a great toll on our healthcare workers and hospital resources, often keeping critically ill patients waiting in emergency departments or being sent out of the area due to a lack of beds,” said Dr. Dale Bratzler, OU Health Chief Quality Officer and University of Oklahoma Chief COVID Officer.

“I am extremely pleased to hear the steps the Oklahoma City Thunder is taking to not only help reduce the risk of transmission during games, but in encouraging Oklahomans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Vaccines have proven to be extremely safe and are quite effective in reducing the risk of breakthrough COVID infections. Be safe, Oklahoma.”

Fans will have the option to upload vaccination cards and test results to the Thunder Mobile App or a website that will be available to upload that documentation, but printed or digital photos of CDC vaccination cards or test results will also be accepted.

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