Students reflect on Mask requirement at Fiserv Forum

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Photo by Collin Nawrocki

Masks will once again be required at Marquette men’s basketball games

Masks are once again required in Milwaukee’s Fiserv Forum for all attendees, regardless of vaccination status.

The Milwaukee Bucks released a statement Dec. 29. This comes in response to a rise of COVID-19 cases in Milwaukee and the recent spread of the omicron variant.

The new rule applies to all events that take place in Fiserv Forum, including Marquette men’s basketball home games.

Fiserv Forum general manager Dennis Williams said that the decision was made to give fans the safest experience as possible when inside the arena.

Morgan Wiberg, a first-year student in the College of Business Administration noted her feeling of safety with the new rule.

“I guess I felt safer when I went to the game, but most of the students didn’t comply,” Wiberg said. “It still felt normal though, I feel like it didn’t feel any different.”

Since June 1, 2021, the city of Milwaukee has been following a mask recommendation as opposed to a mask mandate. This came after the Moving Milwaukee Forward Health Order expired, allowing Milwaukee businesses and facilities to make their own decisions regarding masking.

Previously, Fiserv Forum was operating under a mask recommendation, but not a requirement. However, all employees of Fiserv Forum still were required to wear masks.

Since the rule went into action in the middle of Marquette’s winter break, most students have yet to become accustomed to the change. However, some students who live close to the Milwaukee area or are on campus already have been in attendance at winter break games and have gotten a chance to observe and comply with the new rule.

“Basically when you walk into the Fiserv they offer masks because if you are going to require them, I think it makes sense to offer them,” Kate Bonaguru, a first-year student in the College of Arts & Sciences, said. “They seem pretty strict about walking in without one, but when you sit down it is pretty much half and half. The student section is definitely more likely to not be wearing their masks as much as the other sections in the Fiserv.”

Bonaguro attended two games over break: Jan. 4 when Marquette hosted Providence College and Jan. 11 when Marquette faced DePaul.

“During the games I went to it seemed a little different depending on where you sat. I was in two different (student) sections for the games I went to. In one section, they were really strict about having people pull their masks up and in the other section I didn’t hear anyone tell people once to put their masks up,” Bonaguro said.

Bonaguro also said that the Fiserv mask mandate makes more sense to her since Marquette has had a mask requirement all year.

“I think that was a big question people had because I think it defeated the whole purpose of Marquette’s mask requirement because the classes at Marquette are a lot smaller than the capacity at Fiserv,” Bonaguro said.

Fiserv Forum can hold up to 17,341 people and Marquette’s average class size is 22 students.

Aug. 16 Marquette University announced it would be requiring all students to wear masks regardless of vaccination status in academic buildings and in on campus buildings.

Previously, off-campus businesses and facilities, including Fiserv Forum, followed the city of Milwaukee’s COVID-19 guidance. However, the decision did not stem from a Milwaukee mandate — Fiserv thought the rule was necessary.

While some students said they will feel safer attending games with the new mask mandate in place, other students thought differently.

“I don’t think it is going to change anything because I think it is going to be extremely hard to get people to conform and follow the rule,” Drew Wochner, a first-year student in the College of Nursing, said. “You are going to have kids who aren’t going to comply so I do not know how much it is going to solve the issue because that really relies on the motive of the people.”

Neither the Bucks nor Fiserv have released a statement on how long the rule will be in effect. Some students think the change will motivate other Milwaukee businesses and arenas to make a similar change.

“I definitely think it is because omicron is so easily transmissible, I think more Milwaukee businesses will implement the mask mandate or vaccination requirements like we are seeing in the city of Chicago,” Wiberg said.

This story was written by TJ Dysart. He can be reached at theodore.dysart@marquette.edu