Starting next week, people attending events at city-owned venues in Portland, Maine, will have to follow new COVID-19 requirements.
Beginning on Oct. 4, ticketed public events like concerts and basketball games that are held in places like the Portland Expo, Ocean Gateway or the 1,900-seat Merrill Auditorium can only be attended by people ages 12 and older if they present one of the following: present proof of full vaccination completed 14 days before the event, proof of a negative COVID PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event or proof of a negative COVID rapid test taken within 12 hours of the event.
Masks will also be required for everyone at least 2 years old during public, ticketed events when attendees are not eating or drinking.
The vaccine or test documents will be checked by city employees at the door as people make their way into events and will have to be matched to a physical photo ID.
"We're not participating in an app program," said Jessica Grondin, communications director for the City of Portland, in an interview Wednesday, explaining that the city will not use a vaccine passport app program or any type of upload portal for required entry documents.
For teams like the NBA G-League Maine Celtics, the minor league affiliate of the Boston Celtics based in Portland, the new requirements are not a surprise. In fact, they follow similar new policies that were rolled out at venues like TD Garden.
"It isn't a surprise at all," said Maine Celtics President Dajuan Eubanks, adding that initial reaction he has received to the changes has been positive.
"From what I'm hearing over the last 24 to 48 hours, just paying attention to the news and getting response from people on the streets, is that they're excited there's some sort of protocol in place," he explained.
Eubanks added that he's "optimistic" about the new rules because "people will at least know and have the comfort they're coming into an environment where safety is put first for everyone."
As for how fans will react when they're in seats, Eubanks said that is "to be determined" but there is a lot of benefit to having the policies in place weeks ahead of the Maine Celtics' home opener in November.
"People will be more accustomed to providing that verification mechanism," he said.
Private, non-ticketed events that are held at City of Portland facilities like weddings at Ocean Gateway will not be subject to the new COVID-19 vaccine, test and mask policies.