PORTLAND, Ore. — The Rose Quarter will lift both its masking and vaccination requirements for guests at the Moda Center and Veterans Memorial Coliseum starting Saturday, the same day Oregon's statewide indoor mask mandate ends.
The organization had previously announced that it would lift its indoor mask rule when Oregon lifted the state mandate, which at the time was scheduled to happen on March 19.
The state repeal date was later moved up to March 12 in response to faster-than-expected declines in hospitalization as the omicron wave receded, and the Rose Quarter confirmed in a Tuesday press release that it has adjusted its own schedule to match.
The end of the vaccination mandate is a new development — the Rose Quarter's website previously stated that the rule would remain in place indefinitely.
Oregon's renewed mask mandate has been in place since August prompted by a spike in cases caused by the delta variant. Cases trailed off in October and November, but the mask mandate had not yet been repealed when omicron arrived in Oregon in December, sending cases skyrocketing again.
The vaccination rule was a voluntary policy that the Rose Quarter adopted in September, requiring all visitors ages 12 and up to show either proof of a full vaccination course or a recent negative COVID-19 test to gain entry.
That policy will be lifted on Saturday, the Rose Quarter announced, "in alignment with the lifting of the mask mandate." The Rose Quarter will still strongly encourage guests to be vaccinated, and some artists and events may have specific policies that ticket holders will need to adhere to.
The rule change comes a little more than a month before the Trail Blazers and the Winterhawks are both scheduled to wrap up their regular seasons, but the Rose Quarter has a busy schedule of shows and concerns planned through the summer.
When asked why the Rose Quarter to chose to align the end of its voluntary vaccination policy with the end of the state-mandated masking policy, a spokesperson replied with the following statement:
"Our vaccine mandate came at a time when vaccine rates were still climbing and there was a public health push to get as many people in our community vaccinated as possible. There were many incentives as well as mandates happening throughout the country and the world. The Trail Blazers and the Rose Quarter took a position of leadership to offer incentives and requirements to promote higher vaccination rates in our community. Those incentives worked well in our county and lead to higher rates of vaccination and a safer environment for the people we serve. We find ourselves now in a place where infection and hospitalization rates are steadily declining, and personal responsibility is at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19. Our recent policy change is reflective of that."