IndyCar, IMS mask rules virtually unchanged despite NASCAR update
While NASCAR is again require masks in all interior spaces – regardless of vaccination status – starting this weekend at Watkins Glen, IndyCar will maintain its current policy when the two series share Indianapolis Motor Speedway from August 13-15. IndyCar, citing its vaccination rate of over 90% in the paddock, requires face covers only for those who are not vaccinated. Both series will use IMS’s large indoor garage.
“IndyCar recommends that members of the paddock wear face coverings in high risk indoor spaces and continues to require unvaccinated people to wear masks indoors,” IndyCar said in a statement to IndyStar. “In low risk situations – outdoor spaces or indoor spaces where remoteness, ventilation and high vaccination rate can be taken into account – there is no mask requirement for those vaccinated. “
NASCAR has changed its policy due to the increased spread of the delta variant of COVID-19 and the latest CDC guidelines recommending that fully vaccinated people wear masks indoors. Anyone in the trucks, infield care center, suites, race control, media centers, washrooms and other buildings will be required to use a face covering until further notice. Masks won’t be needed outdoors, but NASCAR discourages close and sustained contact in large groups.
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An important distinction is that the series vary widely in their vaccination surge. IndyCar said more than 90% of the paddock had been vaccinated a few days before its season opening in mid-April, while NASCAR would be below the national average by 50%, although that rises to 70% in terms of adults with at least one shot.
By comparison, the WNBA led the charge in terms of national sports leagues, announcing in June that 99% of its players were fully vaccinated. The NBA and NFL follow at 90%, and in late June the MLB said it had eclipsed the 85% mark for its Level 1 and 2 staff. IndyCar believes it can keep moving forward without changing the protocol because its vaccination rate throughout the paddock is so high.
Additionally, drivers and members of both paddocks will be free to mingle next weekend at IMS – something that wasn’t allowed a year ago when fans weren’t allowed and NASCAR was hosting races. strictly one day shows. The series will be set up in separate garages and won’t share many common spaces at the same time, according to IndyCar and IMS.
This statement from IMS explains how the track will modify its current masking guidelines (which are optional for people vaccinated and mandatory for unvaccinated people, like previous CDC guidelines):
According to NASCAR protocols, several indoor spaces – including race control and the Media Center – will require masks for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. IndyCar will continue to implement its own requirements and guidelines for parts of the world. ‘footprint of the competition that he fully controls. IMS will encourage customers to wear masks when fully indoors, but there will be no mask warrant for customers. “
As the last sentence indicates, these rules will largely not affect the roughly 60,000 fans expected on the track on Saturday and Sunday for the three races. Since the two sanctioning bodies do not generally share suites, only those inside NASCAR-specific suites will be required to wear masks indoors. Some parts of the IMS suites also offer outdoor seating.