Yesterday, the City of Newark rescinded its COVID-19 and mask mandate for indoor gatherings. As a result, the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center have also adjusted their policy for both. In past weeks, one needed to show proof of vaccination and wear a mask to get inside the Rock. As announced this morning by the team and the arena, that is no longer necessary. Here is the statement at the Prudential Center:
As a result of the Executive Order from the City of Newark on March 2, effective immediately and unless required otherwise by the artist or promoter of a particular show, guests will no longer be required to show proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test to enter Prudential Center, and will not be required to wear face masks to attend events, including New Jersey Devils games. Mask use is still permitted based on fan preference by those who chose to do so.
In other words, you can show up to the Rock as normal by the next home game, which is on Sunday, March 6 against St. Louis. Do check for other events, though, instead of assuming this is across the board for all events at the Rock. Such as if you’re going to that Dua Lipa concert tonight or the NJSIAA High School Championships on the 7th.
In actual practice, the previous policies was only truly enforced for entry into the Rock. At the games I went to, some removed their masks fairly quickly after going inside and no one said a thing about it. Some had it and kept it down. Some kept it on properly all game long. It did not matter. Once you got in - something the Devils made a little easier for season ticket holders by providing a green card to flash indicating the team knows you were vaccinated - you were in provided you behaved with all other rules. The more cynical members of the People Who Matter were ultimately proven right; the rules were not that effective. Given that COVID-19 cases did not significantly spike or even rise at all from Devils games in the past two months, I think the change in policy makes sense.
Will this cause more people to go to Devils games knowing that it will be less inconvenient (needing to bring proof, a mask, showing both while standing outside in the Winter night) to do so? Possibly, but I am doubtful. The Devils are still a Bad hockey team with a Bad record (19-30-5) and Nothing meaningful to play for as a team for this season. Then again, the People Who Matter largely know all that and can enjoy a hockey game regardless. The Devils do have a four-game homestand starting on Sunday, so we will see the impact - if any - these relaxed rules could have on attendance. Given that the four games are against St. Louis, Colorado, Winnipeg, and Anaheim, do not expect a lot of visitor support.
I now put the question to you: What do you think of the updated policy? If the previous policy kept you from going to games, then will you go to games now? Please leave your answers and other thoughts about this news in the comments. Thank you for reading.