On Wednesday, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that an ongoing indoor face mask mandate will end, effective Monday, Nov. 22. It was implemented on July 31 due to the spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
Since the Washington Wizards play their home games in Chinatown, or in the middle of downtown, this decision could affect how things operate at Capital One Arena during games. Monumental Sports & Entertainment posted a tweet Tuesday afternoon, announcing that they will no longer require face masks for events on Monday, except for certain seating sections that are in “player-proximate” areas for Wizards games due to NBA rules.
An update from Monumental Sports & Entertainment— Monumental Sports & Entertainment (@MSE) November 16, 2021
For more information: https://t.co/L7FdNxC7Mj pic.twitter.com/Hu8Y1rM1pa
In addition to fans who sit near Wizards players, the tweet stated that Capital One Arena employees will still be required to wear masks, though they are now optional for fans, again, effective next Monday.
While the government is no longer issuing a mandate locally, private businesses can still require facemasks anyway at their own discretion. In addition, some various places will still require masks anyway. For example, public transportation services like WMATA’s Metrobus and Metrorail will still require it, and same goes with Rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. And the local airports like Dulles, Reagan and BWI are still requiring you to mask up as well.
It’s unclear whether these changes will bump up Wizards attendance, which is third-worst in the league even though they have looser requirements for fans to attend based on coronavirus vaccination status.
The Wizards game attendance last night? 13,914— Albert Lee (@aleeinthedmv) November 16, 2021
The season-average is 14,885 or 72.3% capacity: third lowest in the NBA.
Only the Pacers and Pistons are worse.... https://t.co/yPjWakKDtg
I’m getting out of scope here, but it’s not a good look when the Wizards are 10-3, have a hot start but are struggling to get fans in the arena despite being based in one of the most wealthy and largest markets in the United States. I doubt that the loosening of face mask mandates, along with a lack of vaccination requirements, will boost attendance, given that the Wizards’ history over the last 40 years has been mediocre at best. But hopefully, more fans will attend, and that they are vaccinated against the virus as well.
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.