Portland will move to lower risk level so vaccinated fans can attend Trail Blazers playoff games

Portland Trail Blazers
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, left, shoots the ball over Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, left, shoots the ball over Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, May 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

PORTLAND, Oreg. — At one point, the Portland Trail Blazers were the only NBA team not allowing fans into the arena. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has taken COVID-19 restrictions very seriously, making her state one of the most cautious in the nation. However, rising vaccination rates have coincided with the Blazers’ playoff run, leading the two parties to agree on opening up a section of the Moda Center for vaccinated fans hoping to catch some postseason basketball this summer.

According to releases from the Portland Trail Blazers and Gov. Kate Brown’s office, the two parties are awaiting final confirmations from Multnomah County’s vaccination equity plan. Once they are cleared, the region will officially be moved to the Lower Risk level, allowing vaccinated fans to attend Blazers games in-person.

“When fans left the Moda Center last March, it was one of the first signs this pandemic was about to change our lives in ways we hadn’t previously imagined,” Gov. Brown said Monday morning. “Vaccines are the key to our return to normal life. It is a testament to the way Oregonians have united to battle this virus and get vaccinated in large numbers that, this week, the Rip City faithful can return to give our Trail Blazers the legendary home-court advantage they deserve.”

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According to the Governor’s office, the Oregon Health Authority will implement the following guidelines for vaccinated individuals hoping to visit businesses, sporting events, faith institutions, etc.:

  • Vaccinated sections with no physical distancing or capacity limits will be allowed for fully vaccinated individuals ages 16 and older who provide verification of their vaccination status.
  • Businesses, venues, and faith institutions may require additional health and safety protocols in vaccinated sections, such as mask-wearing for vaccinated individuals.
  • Because children ages 12-15 have only recently become eligible for vaccination, and children under 12 are not yet eligible, all children up to age 15 wearing a face covering will be permitted in vaccinated sections if accompanied by their fully vaccinated parent or guardian.
  • Unvaccinated sections must adhere to all health and safety protocols, including the use of masks, physical distance, and capacity limits.

Fans planning to attend a game at the vaccinated section will be required to show proof of vaccination via a COVID-19 Vaccination Record Card. Further information about health and safety protocols at the Moda Center and other events can be found here.

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Despite being considered one of the NBA’s smaller markets, Portland has one of the most consistent and dedicated fanbases in American professional sports. The Trail Blazers are the only NBA team to reach the playoffs every year for the last eight seasons.

Chris McGowan, President & CEO, Portland Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter, is elated to welcome the Portland Trail Blazers fans back into the Moda Center.

We are thrilled to partner with the Governor and Oregon Health Authority as the first indoor sports venue in Oregon with Vaccinated Sections,” McGowan said. “Rip City has shown us such tremendous support throughout the season, and I am confident their in-arena energy will fuel the team as we fight to bring the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy to Portland.”

The Blazers return to the Moda Center for Games 3 & 4 of their first-round series against a division-rival Denver Nuggets on May 27 and 29 respectively. If the series goes to six games, they will return to the Moda Center on June 3. The Portland Trail Blazers won the first game of the series 123-109 in Denver off of marvelous 3-point shooting performances from Damian Lillard (34 points, 13 assists) and Carmelo Anthony (18 points, 4-of-8 from deep).

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