NASCAR is revising its COVID-19 pandemic precautions and will now require all teams and staff to wear face-covering masks indoors.
Everyone from NASCAR drivers to pit crew workers will now be wearing masks regardless of their COVID-19 vaccination status. NASCAR officials announced the revision to pandemic precautions earlier today (Wednesday). The growing concern over the COVID-19 Delta variant is the reason for the move. The new protocol will go into effect at this weekend’s race which will take place at Watkins Glen International in New York. The delta variant of the virus is wreaking havoc across the country as the United States has seen an uptick in COVID-19 cases.
NASCAR personnel say the decision comes after consultation with top physicians and recent medical guidelines. The racing organization had only begun to ease pandemic restrictions earlier this year. It appears, at least for now, that restrictions will once again be put in place to prevent spreading the deadly virus. According to Fox News, NASCAR began the process of easing restrictions in May. That is when they decided staff no longer required masks in outdoor and open-air spaces. They would later allow vaccinated personnel to be inside without protective masks.
NASCAR Mandates Masks for Next Race
This new mandate will affect the fan experience of those attending NASCAR events. Fans attending races will have to be subject to the rules of each individual racing track. Racing personnel will be required to wear masks in areas such as haulers, the media center, restrooms, infield care center, race control and suites
To this point, NASCAR has not mandated that its employees receive the COVID-19 vaccinations, but they are strongly encouraging it.
Masks will not be required of NASCAR employees when they are outdoors. The organization asks for cooperation from various personnel and also the media that will be covering races.
“We ask that media avoid close contact with fellow reporters and competitors as much as possible during pre-race, post-race and care center media engagements,” NASCAR says in a statement.
NASCAR fans had much to say about the new mask mandate and took to social media to voice their thoughts. Many say that if it saves the second half of the season, then a mask-wearing mandate is very much worth it.
“Indoor mask mandates have popped back up everywhere across the country,” a racing fan says in a tweet. “Better this than not having the last part of the season at all.”
“Hopefully, they determine it’s no longer needed by Michigan,” another fan writes. “I really don’t want to cancel that trip for the second year in a row.”
Some fans question if the move is really necessary and just how long it will remain in effect.
“They will likely need the mandate the rest of the season,” One NASCAR fan says.