Spectators to be allowed into ice hockey arenas from June 1st

Take note – story published 2 years ago

Spectators who have completed a course of vaccination or have recovered from Covid-19 infection will be allowed to watch IIHF World Hockey Chapionship games in person from June 1, the Latvian government decided May 27.

However, a demanding list of epidemiological requirements and the large number of people who still have not been vaccinated mean that the number of people theoretically eligible to buy tickets and watch games will likely be quite small.

Only people who can prove with an electronic certificate that they have recovered from Covid-19 or have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least 14 days ago will be able to watch the hockey championship in person.

For recipients of Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the 14 day rule comes after the second dose. For the Janssen single-dose vaccine, it comes after the one and only dose.

Further complicating matters, for recipients of an AstraZeneca vaccine, they can attend matches from 22 to 90 days after a first vaccination and immediately after the second dose.  

Spectator tickets must be personalized with the name of the ticket user. Spectators will be required to present a valid ID and Covid-19 vaccination or disease certificate at the venue, too, and organizers of the championship will have to check the personalized ticket is being used by the right person.

An additional rule -- which may take some enforcing once the singing starts -- says spectators must use nose-and-mouth covers throughout.

The total number of spectators with personalized entrance tickets in the multifunctional hall "Arena Riga" will not exceed 2,660, and in the Olympic Sports Center the maximum capicity will be 1,058 people.

Spectators must be in their personalized seating throughout the game and may only leave the seat for toilet use during the game.

The organizers of the championship will have to organize the flow of spectators in such a way as to prevent crowding, to ensure that the two-meter distance is kept at all times and that spectators with seats in different sectors do not meet.

Only in compliance with all the above-mentioned epidemiological safety measures will the championship games be allowed to be held with spectators who are not accredited by the championship organizer. If these requirements are not met, the games must take place without spectators.

The Minister of Health Daniels Pavļuts (Development / For!) said the rules were drawn up after his ministry was instructed to act by the Prime Minister, who in turn had been instructed by the Saeima, as the Health Ministry itself had been reluctant to allow spectators to attend matches in person.  

However, Pavļuts added that the necessary technical solutions, including a Covid-19 certification app, were still being developed and while they would be ready by June 1, they will be in test mode until June 15, with technological glitches not out of the question. 

"Please understand that we cannot guarantee in such a hurried timescale that everything will be perfect," said Pavļuts. He also added that it cannot be guaranteed that it will be possible to check Covid certificates issued in other countries.

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš (New Unity) emphasized that it is the government's responsibility to ensure that those who enter the arena cannot be a threat to any person in the hockey championship 'bubble'.

"I do not want us to endanger the championship and the players with our decision," the prime minister said.

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