Most fans at Tacoma Rainiers game comply on first day of state's outdoor mask mandate

The Tacoma Rainiers’ double-header baseball game on Monday provided a closer look at compliance with Washington’s outdoor mask mandate at large gatherings. The new rule started on September 13, requiring crowds of 500 people or more to mask up regardless of vaccination status.

Fans at Cheney Stadium expressed mixed opinions about the mandate.

"Do I like it? No, but it is what it is," said Kevin Novak, while attending the game

"It’s kind of hard because you’d like to be free of the masks and it was nice when we were. But I really believe that we need to be safe and make sure everybody else is safe," said Jessica Taylor, attending her first Rainiers game.

Stadium staff said people were complying with the state’s mandate. They said everyone had a mask on  when in line at the front gates. The rule does allow fans in the stands to take their mask off when eating and drinking. When they’re done, however, staff members said the tricky part is when to ask fans to cover up again.

"Everybody gets it. None of us like it, but we got to do it. It’s what it is," said staff member James Anderson. "If we have to wear a mask, we have to wear a mask. It’s just the way it is."

Signs were posted throughout the stadium to mask up and staff were standing by to remind people of the requirement. Most fans said they would follow the rules if it meant maintaining games at full capacity.

"I’d rather be out and among people than be at home. So, if I have to mask up, I have to mask up and I’d rather do that than not come," said Taylor.

Fans said, even with their masks on, it felt good to be back in the stands amongst the community cheering on the Rainiers. The team is ranked first in Minor League Baseball.

"We love it—just to get out among the rest of the people, cheer and cheer the team on. It’s great to be back again," said Mike Nunn, a Rainiers fan. "It’s always fun to hit the day games up. It’s the businessman lunch, so we like to get away and talk shop at the game about work."

Monday’s game attendance did not reach full capacity, so fans were able to find plenty of space for social distance. Cheney Stadium had COVID-19 testing available by appointment only.

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