Crowds of 12 flocked to Lumen Field for the home opener as the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Tennessee Titans. But where were all the rescue masks protecting fans from a supposedly inevitable COVID super spreader event?
Despite an outdoor mask warrant by Public Health – Seattle & King County and Washington State, few fans wore masks. County and state policies impose masks on those attending outdoor events with more than 500 people in attendance, regardless of their immunization status. Fans were expected to wear masks “at all times” except when actively eating or drinking. It certainly did not happen.
Will Lumen Field be punished? Will this be labeled as a super spreader event? The likely answer to both questions is no.
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The outdoor mask mandate joke
It seems unlikely that Lumen Field will face any significant punishment for sheltering thousands of people without masks. Perhaps that is their privilege. Unfortunately, small businesses that also flout county and state rules aren’t so lucky.
The Flowers restaurant in the University Quarter has not followed COVID mandates. Among the rules the company rejected was the indoor mask mandate. Health inspectors have gone so far as to post photos of customers giving up masks. Therefore, his license was suspended.
Even before the rise of the Delta variant, the South Lake Union Saturday Market was forced to impose a mask warrant. There were no large crowds and social distancing was in order. Still, organizers said they need to make sure visitors wear masks so the county or city doesn’t shut down the market. At the time, Seattle had exceeded a vaccination rate of 70%.
When you’re a small business or an event planner, the rules apply. Hosting the Seahawks with NFL Support? Maybe you worry less.
Do I want Lumen Field to take the county or state consequences? Nope.
I am highlighting this to show the disparities in the application. An outdoor mask warrant is unnecessary, especially since every fan has presented proof of vaccination or a negative test. Requiring a mask in this scenario is not science-based or data-driven.
Will politicians or media call Lumen Field?
When it comes to Watershed or the Puyallup Fair, politicians and local media were very concerned about the threat of a super-spray event.
Governor Jay Inslee used Watershed, a country music festival in Gorge, to highlight why we need an outdoor mask warrant at busy events. With the media help like the Seattle Times, you might think it was a super broadcast event. But county officials were only able to link about 0.82% of participants to COVID cases.
Regarding the Puyallup Fair, the county health director imposed an exterior mask mandate specific to this event. The Tacoma News Tribune has been following cases of COVID closely after speculation that it would become a super-spreader event. This is not the case.
There was no scare about the Seahawks game like there was for Watershed and Puyallup Fair. Both of these events are particularly popular with conservatives. Politicians and the media love to target the Tories as a “bioreactor facility” for COVID.
If anything, there was a celebration of the Seahawks game because Lumen Field imposed a set of rules. Now that fans have largely ignored the mask’s tenure, will it inspire criticism? Will we have any concerns about the threat of being a super spreader? Probably not.
Should there be? Nope.
These are fans and staff in a low-risk situation – people who have been vaccinated or without COVID surround them. But I point it out to see the disparate treatment.
The rules don’t really make sense
The mandate of the outdoor mask doesn’t really make sense, especially if you are vaccinated.
It is almost impossible to catch or spread COVID outdoors, even if it is not vaccinated. King County was unable to report a single case of transmission outdoors just a few months ago. The state does not even follow the outward transmission. And while some doctors are concerned about the Delta variant, there haven’t been any significant studies to substantiate the concerns.
But in a county with over 85% of eligible residents vaccinated with at least one injection and 79% fully vaccinated, we don’t really need another study if the vaccine works.
Rantz: WA Not Tracking COVID Transmission Outdoors, King County Cannot Report Case
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