Tuesday marks the first preseason game of the 2021/22 NHL season for the Edmonton Oilers at home at Rogers Place. With the new COVID-19 protocols in place, the experience will be different for fans than it was the last time in-person attendance was allowed at the arena.

The last game the Oilers played at Rogers Place with full fans in the stands came on March 11, 2020, as the NHL suspended its season amid the emerging coronavirus pandemic.

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Here’s a look at what fans entering Rogers Place can expect under current COVID-19 protocols.

Proof of COVID-19 vaccination or negative test

All fans aged 12 and over entering Rogers Place will be required to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test result.

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Fans must be able to show proof of full COVID-19 vaccination – two doses of a vaccine approved by the World Health Organization – received at least 14 days before match day.

Approved documentation includes the COVID-19 vaccine receipt from Alberta Health, proof of the MyHealth Records vaccination card, any vaccination record issued by the government or received from another Canadian province or territory, a vaccination card or a vaccination record issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). the health care provider who administered the vaccine.

Evidence can be displayed either on a mobile device or on printed documentation.

“We have increased our security deployment just for these purposes to ensure that we can get fans in on the same timeframe they expect of us,” said Lindsay Goldsney, director of fan experience and security. at Oilers Entertainment Group.

“We have additional staff doing the checks, as well as additional crowd management staff to help get fans to the correct lines.”

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Fans who attend Oilers games at Rogers Place must provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test

Those who are not vaccinated must present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of the puck being dropped. The test can be a rapid antigen or PCR test. Self-administered home tests will not be accepted. COVID-19 testing is not available onsite at Rogers Place.

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Fans will also need to present government-issued ID.

Staff, suppliers, contractors and the media should be fully immunized. Negative tests will not be accepted by these groups, Rogers Place said.

Rogers Place to be at full capacity for Oilers games

Despite calls from some Alberta doctors to limit capacity, Rogers Place will be operating at full capacity starting Tuesday, with additional public health measures in place.

Alberta is currently under a public health emergency and COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and intensive care admissions continue to increase.

Dr Paul E. Boucher, president of the Alberta Medical Association, said that while the so-called vaccination passport decreases the risk of transmission in these types of places, it does not eliminate the risk.

“It doesn’t make a lot of sense for me to do these things when we’re on the brink of disaster,” said Boucher.

“It’s that disconnection, isn’t it?” I would love to watch a hockey game, but it’s not the job of the Calgary Flames or the Edmonton Oilers to manage the critical care capacity and say, “OK, sure or not to do. that. It has to come from the government.

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Stu Ballantyne, senior vice president of operations at the OEG, pointed out that Rogers Place has been cleared by the NHL and the province to move forward at full capacity.

“With the preseason we doubt we will get close to that number, but the reality is that we are confident that we went early in this process to have fans fully vaccinated and allow the negative test within 72 hours after the game. along with the masking protocol in the facility, that people will be as safe as possible, ”Ballantyne said.

“We meet with each of the Canadian venues on a weekly basis about this and for over a year we have relied on the fact that the NHL has been shut down, so we regularly share protocols and best practices. “

Rogers Place said the facility will undergo increased cleaning and disinfection before, during and after events, especially in high traffic and high traffic areas.

Tom McMillan, spokesperson for Alberta Health, said the ministry “will continue to monitor the situation closely and recommend any changes in our approach if and as needed.”

Taking a look elsewhere in the NHL, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment announced on Friday that capacity will be 50% after Ontario eased restrictions.

The Leafs and Ottawa Senators hope to welcome large crowds for their regular season opener, while the Jets also expect to play to full halls this season.

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The Flames are also allowed to fill their arena.

The Vancouver Canucks are limited to 50% of their capacity, but the team have said they hope the restrictions will be relaxed. Montreal is allowed to play in front of 33 percent of its capacity as it stands.

Every NHL rink in Canada will require proof of vaccination for fans to attend. Rogers Place in Edmonton is also accepting a negative COVID-19 test.

No-baggage policy

Rogers Place implemented a no-baggage policy this year. The organization said it was to ensure a safe environment for fans, speed up entry into the facility and eliminate unnecessary contact at the front doors.

Small pouches (5x6x1) and wallets are still allowed, according to Rogers Place.

Goldsney said the bagless policy stemmed from an NHL mandate for all of its facilities.

“We’ve had some feedback from both sides, good and bad. What we have done is just try to get the message across about what we allow in the facility. “

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Exceptions to the policy will be made for diaper bags and medically necessary items after proper X-ray inspection.

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Face cover

All fans two years of age and older will be required to wear a mask or face covering at all times, except when actively eating or drinking.

Face coverings should completely cover the nose and mouth and fit securely under the chin and against the sides of the face.

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Neck warmers, open chin bandanas, face covers with valves, mesh, costume masks and clear face shields worn alone will not be accepted.

Go mobile / cashless

Rogers Place introduced mobile ticketing for all events, claiming it is a safe, secure and convenient ticketing experience.

Tickets are accessible through the Rogers Place app and options are available for those without a smartphone.

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The hugely popular 50/50 is also back this season, with a schedule moving to a cashless system. Fans will need an email address and use their mobile device to purchase 50/50 tickets.

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Tickets will also be available for purchase online starting at 9 a.m. each match day. Ticket sales will close at 11 p.m.

With all of the new measures in place, Ballantyne said the OEG tries to keep the fan experience going as best it can.

“We haven’t been open to the public for over a year and a half,” he said. “Tomorrow night is also our first time. It’s preseason and we hope to have a great experience for everyone to participate and watch hockey.

“It’s been a long time since we had fans in the building.”

Tuesday’s game against the Seattle Kraken is at 7 p.m.

With files from The Canadian Press.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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