SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose Sharks fans returned to the SAP Center on Tuesday under a strict new COVID vaccine mandate. Fans who attended the preseason home opener against the Los Angeles Kings had to comply with San Jose’s new mandate. It requires proof of vaccination at events of 50 or more people at city-owned venues.
Live hockey is back for San Jose Sharks fans who for the first time in months entered the SAP Center with no capacity limits.
"There’s nothing like being in the tank for a real game," said Tammy Morrissey of San Jose.
"We’ve been waiting 19 months for the games to start back up, we’re real excited," said Tristan Selva of San Lorenzo.
However, some fans weren’t thrilled about a new vaccine mandate San Jose implemented back on September 20. Anyone over the age of 12 entering a city-owned venue for a large event must be vaccinated.
"I don’t think people should be forced to do them, it should be a choice," said Teresa San Paolo of Napa.
A negative COVID test is not accepted. 25-year-old Tristan Selva was vaccine hesitant at first, said he got the shot so he can go to Sharks games.
"It’s just sad to be forced to do something like that," said Selva. "It’s not how I would have chosen to do things, but we already had the season paid for so we'd be throwing away that money."
Other fans supported the mandate.
"It makes me feel safer being at the at-risk category," said Rick Cady of San Jose. "I went and got my third booster shot today to be safer."
Before Tuesday’s game, many fans were told to download the Clear app, upload proof of vaccination there and show their health pass on their phones.
Those who can’t download the app can show their actual vaccination card along with a photo ID. Simply showing a photo of your vaccination card won’t work.
Masks are also required indoors and there is a new bag policy limiting bag size.
Most fans are willing to follow these new rules if it means watching their beloved Sharks in person.
"Would I like things to be normal again with no masks and limitations sure but that’s not the case in the world right now," said Morrissey.
Attendance at tonight's game was far less than a regular season game, less than 10,000 fans. It’s not yet clear if the mandate or concerns about attending indoor live events were factors.
Azenith Smith is a reporter for KTVU. Email Azenith at email@example.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @AzenithKTVU or Facebook or ktvu.com.