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Welcome To LA: You Can Vote Without An ID, But Cannot Watch Chargers Or Rams Without Proof Of Vax Or COVID Test

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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s newest requirement for stadium events with at least 10,000 attendees goes into effect Thursday, and it is going to affect both the Rams and the Chargers for home games at SoFi Stadium.

It may also affect Super Bowl LVI in February of 2022, unless L.A. County figures out the thousands of tourists who typically attend the Super Bowl and the game’s week of festivities might not wish to come under its mandates, which are among the harshest in the country.

Under the new public health order, fans ages 12 and over must provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 72 hours of gameday. Children under 12 do not need a negative test result for entry but, along with all other fans, must continue to wear a mask.

Fans must present the following as part of their vaccine passport:

— A physical vaccination card that includes their name, the type of COVID-19 vaccine received and the date the last dose was administered.

— A physical photo/copy of their vaccination card.

— A photo of their vaccination card stored on a phone or other electronic device.

— Documentation of their full vaccination against COVID-19 from a healthcare provider.

Reminder No. 1: California residents do not have to show any proof of identification to vote in an election. So they can help pick the president or the governor without actually being who they say they are.

But to attend a football game? People have to basically open their recent medical history for inspection.

To be considered fully vaccinated, fans are required to have received their final COVID-19 dose a minimum of two weeks prior to gameday – meaning two weeks following the second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines (or AstraZeneca for international fans) and at least two weeks following a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Fans who are not yet vaccinated, have only received one dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine (or AstraZeneca for international fans) or are not yet beyond the two-week, fully vaccinated window must provide a negative COVID-19 test for entry.

Negative PCR and antigen tests are acceptable forms of COVID-19 testing within 72 hours of gameday.

Fans may present either of the following as proof of a qualifying negative test:

— A printed document from the test provider or laboratory

— An email or text message displayed on a phone from the test provider or laboratory

The documentation must include the fan’s name, type of test performed and confirmation of both the negative result and that the date of the test falls within the 72-hour requirement.

Reminder No. 2: People who are fully vaccinated can still catch and transmit COVID-19. People who test negative 72 hours before a game could have contracted COVID 71 hours before the game and even if they are asymptomatic, they can spread the virus.

Current LA County Department of Public Health guidance will require the cross checking of proof of vaccination or a qualifying negative test with photo identification of fans 18 years of age or older beginning Nov. 1.

Under this current guidance, the Rams Nov. 7 game against the Tennessee Titans would be the team’s first game subject to that specific requirement and the Chargers’ Nov. 14 game versus the Minnesota Vikings would be the team’s first game subject to that specific requirement.   

The Chargers said Wednesday evening that as this is a new health order and their Oct. 10 home game versus Cleveland is the first event at SoFi Stadium impacted by it, enforcement will be phased in over the team’s next three games. The club’s Oct. 31 vs. New England will be the first home game with a “zero-tolerance policy” where admission will be denied without qualifying proof of vaccination or a negative test.

The Chargers’ Nov. 14 game versus Minnesota will be the first home game with the photo identification cross-check in effect.

How the checks of the tens of thousands of fans showing up to games are going to be made and by whom is not known.

Maybe the FBI, CIA, NSA or perhaps the United States Border Patrol, which has been told to stand down in parts of the country and obviously has time to devote to other activities, can be involved in said cross-checking.

(Yes, joking).

Got to do it to keep from crying.

Follow on Twitter: @ArmandoSalguero

Written by Armando Salguero

Armando Salguero has covered the NFL since 1990 for the Palm Beach Post, Miami Herald and ESPN. He was a 2016 Associated Press Sports Editors Top 10 columnist. He is a Pro Football Hall of Fame selector and AP All-Pro team voter.

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