MEMPHIS, Tenn.– Big changes are coming for fans that attend events at the FedEx Forum. Soon, you will have to be vaccinated or submit a negative coronavirus test before entering the venue.  

Mask up Memphis —it’s a phrase seen around the FedEx Forum, but soon you will also see a new sign: Vaccines Required 

In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, FedEx Forum is the latest venue to require vaccines or a negative test for attendees. This directive is expected to take effect for events held after October 19. 

It starts with the Grizzlies home opener on October 20th.

Grizzlies President Jason Wexler said the rules affect Grizzlies staff as well as fans. He said the Grizzlies spoke to all of their partners, the Tigers and Shelby County Health department, not to mention concert promoters, in coming up with this new policy. Plus, they asked fans.

“We polled our season ticket holders and found that a clear-cut supermajority of our MVPs are vaccinated and want to be in a vaccinated/tested environment for games,” Wexler said. “It was genuinely encouraging that the best interests of the health of our community so profoundly aligned with the preferred way for Grizzlies’ season ticket holders to enjoy games at FedExForum in the current environment. Those who are vaccinated overwhelmingly said they are willing to show proof of vaccination. Once the mask order is lifted, and with the vaccination/negative test policy already in place, fans can get back to a mask-less environment inside FedExForum with the confidence that everyone in attendance is either vaccinated or has shown proof of a negative test.”

These changes come a couple weeks ahead of both the Grizzlies and Tigers tipping off the season and for the most part many fans seems on board with the new rules.

The Shelby County Health Department shared the news and are encouraging fans to go to one of 160 vaccination sites in the county.

Sports fans like Andras Vesey believe it’s necessary.

“It would be better if you just go to sporting events and don’t have to worry about someone getting you sick,” Vesey said. “I don’t wanna be sick, I got the shot even though I can get the shot and get a little bit sick, I don’t want that. Get your shot or stay your 20 feet from me.”

The procedures would apply to anyone age 12 and older. For those who are unvaccinated, COVID test have to be completed within 72 hours of the event.

Tourists like Lyz Lockwood had to undergo a similar process to get to Memphis.

“I don’t think I would go to any event, a big event of any kind that didn’t require it. We just got off of a Mississippi cruise, and they required vaccinations to get on board and we wouldn’t have done it without that,” Lockwood said.

These changes come at a time where Shelby County is averaging 312 COVID cases a day, which is down from recent weeks. Health leaders credit increases in vaccinations and wearing masks as the reason for the trend.

Lockwood hopes everyone in the community understands these changes are for the greater good, “It’s just crazy, Of course,  I’m from a generation when people have polio and everybody dashed down to get polio shots. I don’t understand why people are fighting this. I just don’t understand it. It’s a disease that is killing people.”

The NBA is not requiring players to be vaccinated at this time, but unvaccinated players are subjected to a different set of rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.