In a letter from Pittsburgh Penguins President David Morehouse to season ticket holders, the Penguins laid out a plan to include more fans at PPG Paints Arena. The Pennsylvania state government and the State Department of Health must approve the request.
It will not be without controversy, as the plan could be groundbreaking in the debate over vaccine passports.
According to the letter sent to season ticket holders, Morehouse reported the Penguins had petitioned the state to include “vaccinated sections” of fans at PPG Paints Arena during games. The sections would require vaccination proof.
“Vaccinated sections would allow fans with proof of vaccination to sit closer in a protected environment,” the letter read. “We have been encouraged by the number of people in and around the region that have been vaccinated, and we feel this would be a safe and effective way to allow more fans access to attend games.”
The Penguins would maintain sections for non-vaccinated fans and will not require COVID vaccinations to attend. Masks will still be required, too.
“Until the CDC and the Pennsylvania Department of Health rules otherwise, masks will still be required,” Morehouse wrote. “And all existing COVID safety and cleaning protocols will remain in effect.”
According to Becker’s Hospital Review, which monitors vaccination distribution, nearly 30% of Pennsylvania residents have been fully vaccinated.
More than 95 million people have been fully vaccinated across the country, and over 140 million people have begun the process. The CDC reports that 54% of the population has begun the process, and 37% completed it.
The LA Times reports that 0.005% of the more than 230 million vaccination shots have resulted in serious side effects. Despite the minuscule numbers, recent polling suggests up to 30% of Americans are resistant to getting the vaccines, primarily because of fears of side effects.
Vaccines are now available to everyone over 16-years-old. Here is a list of all vaccine locations in Allegheny County. Pittsburgh Hockey Now staff have either completed the vaccine process or started it. We implore everyone to get the pokes. Fellow NHL fans in Canada are angrily waiting in lines and chasing scarce vaccines as another spike in cases sweep the country.
We can’t argue about leaving Penguins games early until more Americans get the vaccine. Please.
Governors in Florida and Montana recently signed executive orders barring vaccine zones or vaccine passports. Another 10 states, including Arizona, Georgia, Idaho, Texas, and Utah, have passed laws or executive orders prohibiting state governments from participating in passport requirements.
New York and Hawaii have begun the process to facilitate vaccine passports.
The Pittsburgh Penguins have maintained their sellout streak and are averaging 3391 fans per game in the 2020-21 NHL season, though recent changes upped limits to nearly 5,000 fans.