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Mechanics Bank Arena to require proof of vaccination or negative test starting Monday

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Starting Monday, events at Mechanics Bank Arena will require proof of either COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test within the previous 72 hours, the Bakersfield Condors announced Friday.

The Condors’ announcement brings the facility in line with a California state mandate for indoor events with more than 1,000 participants that will also affect AHL Pacific Division foes including the Ontario Reign, San Diego Gulls, San Jose Barracuda and Stockton Heat.

Elsewhere in the division, the newly relocated Abbotsford Canucks, in British Columbia, will require categorically that all attendees 12 and up be vaccinated. Contrastingly, in Nevada, the Henderson Silver Knights chose to require masks, rather than proof of vaccination. The Tucson Roadrunners’ arena also requires masks as of August.

The Condors average around 5,000 fans per game in a typical season, but played most of last year without spectators before reopening with 1,000 fans, 10 percent of the arena’s capacity, in April.

Arena protocols state that those attendees who show a negative test rather than proof of vaccination must take a PCR or antigen test rather than an “at-home "rapid" test.” Unvaccinated guests will also be required to wear masks.

Saturday and Sunday’s Premier Boxing Champions fights will be the last events hosted prior to the implementation of the new policy.

The Condors added that their first game to require proof of vaccination or a negative test will be a preseason contest on Oct. 8, and that the arena policy will continue through Nov. 1.

Reporter Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.