If you are a New Orleans Saints fan who has kept a strong stance on not getting the COVID-19 vaccine and have plans to attend games in 2021, you may want to sit down for this one. The first preseason New Orleans Saints home game is less than a week away with major changes in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19.
It was just last week when New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell announced that proof of vaccination or a negative 72-hour PCR test would be required for some indoor venues, including the Caesar’s Superdome. That means Saints fans will have who are season ticket holders and are unvaccinated or refuse to show a negative COVID-19 test, tickets will not be refunded, according to the Saints.
The Saints said they also would not offer season ticket holders an option to opt out of the season.
Senior Vice President of Communications for the Saints Greg Bensel issued the following statement:
“We’ve received all necessary local and state approvals to host a full stadium of fans and with that in mind, we are not offering a refund or opt out option this season. We remain optimistic that, with our community’s help and as vaccination rates increase, these restrictions will no longer be necessary as the season progresses. However, if you don’t plan on attending games this season, we’d recommend that you resell your individual game tickets on SeatGeek, which has a strong secondary market for Saints tickets.”
Along with the Saints are the Raiders who are requiring every fan to be vaccinated, but they will refund ticket holders who won’t get vaccinated.
UPDATE: The Saints issued a statement Thursday saying they will now offer refunds to season ticket holders who do not get a COVID-19 test or are unvaccinated this season.
“The New Orleans Saints are grateful to have received all the necessary approvals to host a full capacity crowd at the Caesars Superdome this season. The Saints earned the No. 1 ranking in the NFL in Health and Safety in 2020 and are following the state and local protocols for our fans to safely attend games this season.
“While the city is not exclusively requiring a full vaccine for entry it is requiring either proof of a single vaccination dose or a negative COVID-19 test for our fans to attend the game (fans that are 12 and under do not need to provide any proof of vaccination or negative test result). The City of New Orleans will permit fans to enter the stadium even if they receive their first COVID-19 vaccination shot on the day of the game. The Saints will be teaming with Ochsner to provide free COVID-19 vaccinations at the Caesars Superdome for fans who wish to choose this option. Once the city ordinance was announced, the Saints/Ochsner regional vaccination program produced nearly 2,000 newly vaccinated citizens within one week. We want to thank the healthcare professionals who assisted on this program and all healthcare workers on the front lines who are fighting this disease every day. They are our true heroes.
“We are hopeful that the city mandate is temporary and we remain optimistic that as vaccination rates increase this policy will no longer be necessary.
“We appreciate the overwhelming positive feedback we have received from our season ticket holders to be a part of a full capacity Caesars Superdome. We have the best and loudest fans in the NFL and they will be counted on this season.
“Last season, we made the decision to offer refunds or rollover accounts to the following season because we knew government regulations would not allow us to fulfill a full season of attendance. This is not the case this season. Based on current city and state regulations allowing full capacity, we did not plan to offer refunds for season tickets, as has been our standard policy. We have received less than 120 requests for ticket refunds as of this morning and, following media inquiries and recent articles about refund policies, we have received thousands of calls from interested fans wanting to purchase any season tickets made available by current season ticket holders seeking refunds.
“Our preference is to have these loyal fans in the seats rather than see these additional tickets be made available to visiting fans via the secondary market. Those seeking a refund should reach out to their ticket representative by the deadline of Tuesday, Aug. 24, at 4:00 p.m. CT. At their request, we will cancel their accounts and provide a refund. Those tickets will then be immediately offered for purchase to our wait list. Every effort will be made to expedite this process due to the start of the home season next week. Further details regarding the refund policy will made available to those seeking a refund through their ticket representative.”
Fans who are currently on New Orleans’ waiting list will get the chance to purchase season tickets once refunds are issued to the original holders.
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