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October 12, 2021

If you go: Which events require face masks and which require proof of COVID-19 vaccination

Headed to an Eagles game or Sixers game? How about a show at the Kimmel Center or running in the Philadelphia Marathon? Here is what people need to know

Entertainment COVID-19
81221 Eagles fans masking at Lincoln Financial Field Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

You don't need to wear a mask while watching the Eagles from your seats at Lincoln Financial Field, but they're required to enter indoor areas of the South Philly stadium.

Like it or not, a mask mandate has returned to Philadelphia, and it's probably going to make an impact on your social calendar.

With Philly – and the rest of the country – battling a surge in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations spurred by the highly contagious delta variant, the city is requiring masks inside all businesses that do not ask for proof of vaccination for entry. The mandate also applies to unseated outdoor events with more than 1,000 people in attendance.

The good news is that most large-scale events, for now, have not been canceled. Mayor Jim Kenney said in August that a lockdown is not in the city's future "if everybody acts like a mature adult and does what they're supposed to do."

So what are you supposed to do?

First the events: Here's what you need to know about masks and vaccination policies at some upcoming events in and around Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Eagles games

Fans at Lincoln Financial Field do not have to wear masks while they're cheering on the Birds from their seats or walking around the stadium's open-air concourse levels. But that doesn't mean you get to leave your masks at home.

The Eagles require fans to mask up "when visiting indoor spaces." That includes restrooms, elevators, the Pro Shop, suites with their windows closed and club lobbies. The team also "strongly encouraged" fans who are not vaccinated to wear masks any time they are not actively eating or drinking.

Philadelphia Union games

Philadelphia's namesake soccer team plays its games at Subaru Park, located outside city limits. 

"Since we are located in (Chester,) Delaware County, this does not change anything for our matches," a team official said in August. "We will continue to work with our medical staff and local health officials to evaluate the situation."

The suburbs and the rest of Pennsylvania continue to adhere the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's recommendations: Face masks are not needed outdoors, except in crowded settings or when in close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated.

Subaru Park has been operating at full capacity since late June. Face masks are not required for fully vaccinated Union fans attending games, the team states on it website, but masks are strongly recommended for all fans unless actively eating or drinking. Subaru Park's staff, stadium security and concession workers are required to wear masks.

The Philadelphia Marathon, Half-Marathon and 8K

The Philadelphia Marathon, Half-Marathon and 8K races will require all in-person participants to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Runners must receive their final COVID-19 vaccine doses by no later than two weeks before their respective races. The half-marathon and 8K are scheduled for Nov. 20, while the marathon will take place Nov. 21. 

Participants must provide proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 before receiving one's race bib and other materials. Instructions for uploading vaccine documentation ahead of time will be emailed to runners and made available online. An original document, photocopy or digital image of one's vaccine card are all acceptable.

Runners can submit their vaccine documentation ahead of time online or in-person at the Philadelphia Marathon Weekend Expo at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on Nov. 19-20. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test result will not be considered acceptable proof for participation. Vaccine exemptions will not be granted.

Runners will not be mandated to wear face masks during the race. Masks will be required in other areas near the start and finish lines. Participants will be allowed to remove their masks when inside runner corrals while warming up and on the race course.

All staff, volunteers and spectators are required to wear face masks while inside of the start and finish line areas.

The Kid's Run has been canceled this year due to the vaccine requirement. Children ages 11 and under are not eligible yet to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

Runners can also choose to defer their race participation to 2022 or 2023, switch to a virtual race or receive a refund. More details on these alternatives are expected soon.

At indoor venues, people must wear masks, other are requiring proof of vaccination and at least one is requiring both. These are the rules at some venues in Philadelphia and the surrounding suburbs.

Kimmel Cultural Campus 

Effective Sept. 18, guests ages 12 and older attending public events at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts, the Academy of Music and the Merriam Theater must show proof of full vaccination. Those who do not will be denied entry.

The theaters do not accept negative COVID-19 tests from anyone ages 12 and older. Children under 12 must show a negative PCR test taken no earlier than 72 hours before an event. 

Campus leaders said the policy was informed by a study of more than 1 million guests conducted alongside 35 performing arts centers across the country and is subject to change based on guidance from the CDC and local health agencies. Ticket holders will receive instructions for presenting proof of vaccination for entry in advance of performances.

"We have learned that 99% of our audiences are already vaccinated, and they are ready to engage with the arts in person once again," Kimmel Cultural Campus President and CEO Anne Ewers said. "We are listening to feedback from our guests, our staff, and our artists, and the clear consensus is safety should be our number 1 priority as we navigate a return to convening around the arts. Requiring proof of vaccination for events across our Campus is a vital and responsible component of reopening."

Guests are also required to wear masks — except while actively eating or drinking — in designated areas at each theater. Removing masks for long periods of time is not permitted.

The Mann Center

No proof of vaccination is required at the open-air Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Fairmount Park, but everyone ages 2 and older must wear a mask "in all areas of the Mann campus unless actively eating or drinking," according to information posted to the venue's website.

However, some artists who have performed at the Mann Center this year have required all attendees to be fully vaccinated or register a negative COVID-19 test result.

Union Transfer

Everyone attending shows at Union Transfer for the remainder of 2021 must show proof of COVID-19 vaccination and wear face masks to enter the venue. 

An original document, photocopy or digital image of one's vaccine card are all acceptable forms of proof. Proof of a negative COVID-19 test will not be considered acceptable documentation for entry into the venue. Refunds are being offered to anyone who cannot meet the venue's COVID-19 guidelines.

The Spring Garden Street concert hall reopened from a yearlong pandemic shutdown in August with Philly's Japanese Breakfast playing five nights in front of sold-out, masked-up and fully vaccinated crowds.

The decision to require proof of vaccination at the door and masks inside for those shows was made by Michelle Zauner and her band, but the venue decided to extend the policy to all of its shows.

Wells Fargo Center

If you're planning on stepping foot in the Wells Fargo Center for a Flyers game, Sixers game or other event, you'll need to have a mask handy.

"In compliance with Philadelphia’s city-wide mask mandate, all guests and arena employees will be required to wear a mask while inside Wells Fargo Center," according to the arena's health and safety protocols. Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result are not required at this time for entry.

BB&T Pavilion

Starting in October, all BB&T Pavilion attendees must show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result produced less than 72 hours before any performance, according to the venue's website. A printed copy of a negative COVID-19 test result or vaccination, or one's original vaccine card, are acceptable forms of documentation.

The Camden, New Jersey, hybrid venue has followed the CDC's guidelines and "strongly" recommends that guests who are not fully vaccinated wear masks while on its premises unless they are actively eating or drinking. People who are fully vaccinated do not have to wear masks at BB&T Pavilion.

Franklin Music Hall

People attending shows at Franklin Music Hall are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter the venue.

An original document, photocopy or digital image of one's COVID-19 vaccine card are all acceptable forms of proof, according to the venue's operator AEG Presents. All attendees must also wear a face mask while at Franklin Music Hall.

Keswick Theatre

The Keswick Theatre in Glenside, Montgomery County, also is owned by AEG Presents and falls under the same vaccination rules as Franklin Music Hall: People attending shows are required to provide proof of COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter the venue. 

An original document, photocopy or digital image of one's COVID-19 vaccine card are all acceptable forms of proof. All attendees must also wear a face mask while at the theatre.

Staff writer Pat Ralph contributed to this story.