Mercedes-Benz Stadium changes mask policy

The exterior of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.  (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

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The exterior of Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta. (ALYSSA POINTER / ALYSSA.POINTER@AJC.COM)

Mercedes-Benz Stadium has updated its policy on masks, now saying fans will be “required” to wear them in enclosed spaces such as the stadium’s clubs and merchandise store.

In all open-air areas of the stadium, including the seating bowl and concourses, masks will be “strongly encouraged.”

The updated policy comes as the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations soar. It will take effect with Friday night’s Falcons-Tennessee Titans exhibition game and will be in place for “events moving forward,” including Falcons and Atlanta United games, according to AMB Sports & Entertainment, the teams’ parent company.

AMBSE said it “will continue to evaluate and monitor the situation and make updates as needed,” adding: “At this time, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will not go back to a limited seating capacity unless mandated by MLS or the NFL.”

Asked how the mask mandate will be enforced in the enclosed spaces, AMBSE senior director of communications Heather Sautter said: “We’re expecting fans to do the right thing and be respectful of others and follow the protocol.”

The Falcons plan to have Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s retractable roof open for Friday’s game, and the team said the updated mask policy is consistent with other NFL teams that have open-air facilities.

COVID-19 vaccines will be available at Friday’s game, beginning at 5:30 p.m. and continuing throughout the game on the stadium’s 100 level.

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