Updated August 17, 2021 - 6:20 pm
The Raiders’ announcement late Monday that proof of COVID-19 vaccination will be required to attend games at Allegiant Stadium this season has raised questions about how the verification process will work.
The Raiders are partnering with Clear, an app that helps users verify their identity and other information — including vaccinations — to confirm the status of guests entering the $2 billion stadium. Team owner Mark Davis, president Dan Ventrelle and Jerome Pickett, senior vice president of sports and entertainment for Clear, hosted a news conference Tuesday to detail how the process will work.
Fans will have to download the Clear app onto their smartphone and then upload their vaccine card, their driver’s license and a photo of their face.
Once that’s done, all a fan has to do is open the Clear app and tap the health pass digital vaccine card to display a QR code along with their photo for a stadium staffer to verify their vaccination status.
The app has fraud protections tied to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, so anyone attempting to enter the stadium with a fake vaccine card uploaded to the app, which is a federal crime, will be identified.
“The Raiders are leading the charge with health pass,” said Pickett, who is assisting the Raiders with the rollout.
There is no negative COVID test alternative for fans wanting to attend Raiders games this season. Those who are fully vaccinated — having both shots of Pfizer or Moderna, or the single Johnson & Johnson shot at least two weeks prior — can go maskless in the stadium. Fans who are only partially vaccinated can attend, but are required to wear a mask inside.
The Raiders will offer vaccinations on site on game days, carried out by Community Ambulance. Those fans will be allowed to attend the game the same day, though they will be required to wear a mask inside.
“If somebody comes to the game and they have a ticket and are unaware of the mandate to be vaccinated, we will have the ability to vaccinate them in the parking lot,” Davis said.
Children between the ages of 2 and 11 who aren’t yet eligible to receive the vaccine can also attend games, but must wear a mask.
Davis said that a community outreach program could occur with Raiders players involved and Community Ambulance.
An emergency directive from Gov. Steve Sisolak late Monday gave large venues the ability to opt out of the indoor mask mandate by requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination. Any event venue with 4,000 or more fixed seats can opt in; if they don’t, they can continue to host events, but all attendees must wear masks.
Ventrelle said the Raiders would work with stadium management company ASM “to determine when it’s appropriate to apply it to other events, or whether it’s appropriate to phase it in.”
Saturday’s WWE SummerSlam event will take place with only the mask requirement in place.
Sisolak on Tuesday applauded the team and its decision to require proof of vaccination in a post on his verified Twitter account.
“I’m excited to see the @Raiders and @AllegiantStadm step forward as leaders to implement Nevada’s new option to help make large gatherings safer by requiring proof of #COVID19 vaccination for all attendees,” Sisolak’s tweet read. “Those who are fully vaccinated will not need to wear a mask.”
Davis said he hopes the vaccination requirement doesn’t alienate any fans, but said team officials had to make a tough decision to ensure fans would be in the seats this season.
“That is why we are quickly giving them the opportunity to turn in their tickets for a full refund or roll over their money (to next season),” Davis said. “I don’t know what else we could do for them, but when you look at it, it’s not just about you, it’s about the person sitting next to you. That’s who we’re trying to protect.”
At least one longtime Raiders fan, Greg Fowler, objected to the vaccination requirement. Fowler has been a Raiders fan for over 20 years, having had season tickets in Oakland before purchasing them in Las Vegas. He said he won’t get vaccinated due to religious beliefs and thinks he shouldn’t be excluded from attending games.
“I have my own reasons for not getting vaccinated,” Fowler said. “I know there’s other people like that and others who can’t for medical reasons. It’s a very personal thing and we’re being excluded from these events and we paid for them.”
Fowler said he sold his tickets to the Week 1 game against the Baltimore Ravens, so he isn’t eligible for the refund or rollover option. So if Fowler wants to recoup any of the money he spent on his remaining tickets, he’ll have to turn to the secondary market, which he said has lost some value because others like him having to list their tickets all at once.
Fowler said he is seeking legal advice to see if there is any basis to file a discrimination lawsuit.
UNLV Health Law program director David Orentlicher said there is no real basis for a lawsuit based on religious beliefs.
“Businesses can’t discriminate on the basis of religion, but that’s not what’s happening here,” Orentlicher said. “It’s not religious people have to get vaccinated and non-religious people don’t have to get vaccinated. It’s everybody does.”
However, he said the Americans With Disabilities Act could come into play if someone has a disability or medical condition that precludes them from being vaccinated.
In such as a case, the Americans With Disability Act calls for “reasonable accommodation,” which could entail allowing those individuals to wear an N95 mask or providing a special section for them to sit.
Orentlicher also said the Americans With Disabilities Act is a federal law that could overrule a state directive, though there is a potential caveat.
“There’s no question that the Americans with Disabilities Act does allow public health considerations,” Orentlicher said. “If you can’t allow an unvaccinated person into your stadium because it puts people at undue risk and there’s no way to avoid that undue risk, then you don’t have to let that person in. The ADA says if there is a way you can let that person in without being vaccinated and without putting other people at risk then you have to do that.”