As the 2021-22 season approaches, the Hershey Bears and the American Hockey League continue to explore safety protocols amid the coronavirus pandemic, including mask policy.
As of August, Bears owner Hershey Entertainment & Resorts has a mask recommendation for all indoor venues across its properties, including Giant Center.
“At this time, all guests regardless of vaccination status are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings in all indoor spaces,” per the guidance from Hershey Entertainment & Resorts. “Guests are free to continue to wear face coverings anywhere on property if they choose to do so.”
The Bears are still awaiting additional guidance from the AHL and the National Hockey League, who will dictate any regulations for the team and the venues across the AHL. Hershey will also follow any state-wide guidance should mask policy or proof of vaccination be required.
“These operational adjustments may change as guidance and requirements from various government agencies and industry organizations continue to evolve,” the release continues.
Last season, attendance was severely limited due to guidance from the Pennsylvania state government, however, a few hundred fans were allowed to attend games.
The intention is still to allow full capacity at Hershey Bears home games for the season opener against the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.
“The club’s Home Opener marks the first time in 594 days the Bears will welcome fans back to GIANT Center at full-capacity,” the Bears said in July’s schedule release.
Hershey has not announced any plans to require proof of vaccination at this time. There would be precedent within the NHL and AHL as earlier this week the Vancouver Canucks and its AHL affiliate, Abbotsford Canucks, will require every spectator in attendance to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“It is important that we all continue to remain vigilant and work together to prioritize the health and safety of those around us,” Hershey Entertainment & Resorts continued. “We appreciate our guests partnering with us in following all guidelines.”
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The Bears in conjunction with its ownership company will continue to adjust guidelines if it becomes necessary. Hershey Entertainment & Resorts also manages Hersheypark, Hersheypark Arena & Stadium, ZooAmerica, Hershey Bears AHL Hockey Club, Giant Center, as well as multiple hotel properties.