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MSE Will Require COVID-19 Vaccines For Fans At Capital One Arena Starting Jan. 15

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Capital One Arena, home to the NHL's Capitals.

With COVID-19 cases rising around the world and even putting the Washington Capitals 2021-22 regular season on pause, Monumental Sports & Entertainment will now require vaccines.

MSE announced on Wednesday that all fans attending events at Capital One Arena must have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with this new policy taking effect on Jan. 15. The decision comes after D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser mandated a citywide vaccination requirement for all indoor entertainment facilities. MSE will require proof of vaccination through either the CLEAR Health Pass App or a picture or hard copy of your vaccination card with photo ID.

Fans will also have to wear masks at Capital One Arena regardless of vaccination status. Bowser’s indoor mask mandate in D.C. is in effect through Jan. 31. As of right now, no changes have been made to fan capacity at Capital One Arena. The Capitals have been playing in front of a 100 percent capacity crowd so far this season.

These new guidelines are in response to the rapidly-spreading Omicron variant and surging COVID-19 cases nationwide. With coronavirus spiking, the NHL is not only pausing Wednesday through Saturday but is also no longer sending NHLers to Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics in February. Instead, the league will use that gap in the schedule to make up the 50 postponed games so far.

READ MORE ON WHN+: Off The Record Discusses Pushback Coming After NHL’s Olympics Decision

Washington has not been immune to the COVID-19 outbreak that is sweeping the league. Right now, Nicklas Backstrom, Evgeny Kuznetsov and T.J. Oshie are all on COVID-19 protocol. Mike Sgarbossa was also on that list but his test turned out to be a false positive. Nic Dowd, Trevor van Riemsdyk, Garnet Hathaway and Lars Eller, along with goalie coach Scott Murray, were also on protocol at some point this season.

The Capitals were supposed to lace ’em up for a final game before the break against Philly on Tuesday, but the game was called off after Justin Schultz and Daniel Sprong were pulled from the morning skate amid test results.

If all goes well teams can return to practice no earlier than 2 p.m. local time on Sunday. The regular-season schedule then resumes on Monday.

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