Masks at the game?

Masks+are+not+required+at+Fiserv+Forum

Photo by Isabel Bonebrake

Masks are not required at Fiserv Forum

Marquette basketball fans are required to wear masks at women’s basketball games but not at men’s games due to differing mask policies at the Al McGuire Center and Fiserv Forum.

In the Al McGuire Center, masks are required for those in the stands due to the university’s indoor mask requirement.

Marquette announced Aug. 16 that in continued alignment with the Milwaukee Health Department’s indoor mask guidance, and in response to Milwaukee’s “extreme transmission” status for COVID-19, they would be requiring all students, faculty, staff and visitors, regardless of vaccination status, to wear a mask when in shared or public indoor spaces on campus starting Aug.17.

However, in Fiserv Forum, masks are strongly encouraged for all individuals, regardless of vaccination status, in public, indoor settings but they are not required.

Some people feel that the differing mask policies for men’s games versus women’s games is unfair.

“I understand that we wear masks at women’s games because it’s at the Al, on campus, whereas Fiserv isn’t. But I don’t think it is fair that there is that separation,” Elizabeth Jonas, a junior in the College of Nursing, said. “If we have to wear them at one, we should have to wear them at the other.”

In some cases, speciality events at Fiserv Forum require masks but Marquette men’s basketball games only encourage them.

“Personally, I don’t think it’s fair,” Eibar Robledo, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said. “I feel that their policy for enforcing masks in one place versus the other isn’t based on much reasoning.”

Several fans are unsure of their safety without a mask policy in place at Fiserv Forum.

“Honestly, I’m tied up on how I feel. I enjoy not having to wear a mask, as it feels a little more normal and reminds me of the basketball experience I had freshman year,” Jonas said. “But I also feel wrong, as COVID-19 is still extremely prevalent, and I wear my mask in other public places regardless of a mask mandate or not.”

In the absence of a mask requirement, some fans still choose to wear their mask in Fiserv Forum to feel safe.

“I personally have been wearing my mask at Fiserv,” Amy Baudhuin, a junior in the College of Communication, said.

Marquette University’s COVID-19 alert level is moderate, as of Nov. 29, with 30 confirmed positive COVID-19 cases in the last 14 days and eight in the last seven days.

“Men’s games are more populated, and if there’s a higher chance of getting COVID-19, it would be at a men’s game,” Jonas said.

Fiserv Forum has invested in new housekeeping equipment and training to ensure fans’ safety and has also implemented resources such as all-digital ticketing, contactless payment, hand sanitizer stations and sealed packaging for all food items along with new safety procedures.

After consultation with the City of Milwaukee’s Health Department, both Fiserv Forum and the Al McGuire Center no longer have a capacity limit. Fiserv Forum’s full capacity is 17,341 people while the Al McGuire Center’s full capacity is 3,700 people.

“I think that the mask policy should be equally enforced for men’s and women’s basketball events to ensure everyone’s safety, especially considering the volume of people that attend the games,” Baudhuin said.

Since Nov. 1, there have been 4,823 positive COVID-19 cases in the City of Milwaukee, with a 7.5% positivity rate. As of Nov. 29, Milwaukee still has an “extreme transmission” status.

“I definitely feel that the policy enacting masks in one place versus the other should be revisited and heavily considered given the situations at hand,” Robledo said.

This story was written by Bailey Striepling. She can be reached at bailey.striepling@marquette.edu.