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Masks encouraged, but not required as Vikings fans return to U.S. Bank Stadium

Saturday's preseason kickoff will be the first time that fans are back in the stands since the pandemic began.
Credit: KARE
US Bank Stadium in November

MINNEAPOLIS — Vikings fans will be back in the stands at the U.S. Bank Stadium for the first time in more than a year on Saturday, as Minnesota opens the preseason against the Denver Broncos.

COVID-19 restrictions by the NFL and state of Minnesota kept the stadium empty throughout the 2020 season.

In a press release Friday, the Vikings said the team will strongly encourage fans to use face coverings inside the stadium to prevent the spread of COVID-19; however, mask use will not be required at this time. 

The Vikings will not require fans to provide proof of vaccination or negative COVID tests; however, the team said any fans who have tested positive for COVID-19 within 14 days, or anyone who may be sick or experiencing symptoms is asked to stay home. Similar restrictions are being placed on players and game day staff.

Contingency plans are in place if anyone begins to feel sick during a game.

"Should a fan begin to feel unwell while at U.S. Bank Stadium, a game day staff member should be notified immediately; appropriate facilities and resources are available as necessary," the Vikings said in the team's news release.

Vikings officials said "extensive cleaning, disinfecting and sanitization measures" are in place for game days. The team also said the stadium uses a state-of-the-art ionization system in its air handling units to mitigate airborne viruses. In addition, an antimicrobial film designed by 3M has been installed on high-touch areas, and additional sanitizing stations will be available throughout the stadium.

RELATED: Vikings to lean more on defense after disappointing 2020 season, busy offseason

Besides COVID-19 precautions, the Vikings are also reminding fans about other arrival and security measures:

Gate times: U.S. Bank Stadium opens to fans two hours prior to kickoff for home games.

Bag policy: The NFL's bag policy limits the size and types of bags that are allowed in the stadium. Express lanes are available at entry for fans without bags.

Security: Fans will not need to empty pockets or remove keys, cell phones and other small items when passing through walk-through metal detectors.

Cashless payments: Cash is no longer accepted inside the stadium. Fans are asked to use credit or debit cards, or contactless payment options using a smartphone.

RELATED: Vikings QBs Kirk Cousins calls his vaccination status private, promises to be 'vigilant'

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