Masks requirements in the hands of organizers for events at the Coliseum

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – The Allen County War Memorial Coliseum is a county building that is not restricted to require mask in its building.

Last week, Governor Eric Holcomb announced he would lift the mandate and transition to a mask advisory, Allen County’s Health Commissioner Dr. Matthew Sutter followed his lead and did not inject his own, but he did state that masks are still required for county buildings.

In a rare case of events, the Coliseum is not required to follow this restriction.

The Allen County Commissioners office told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that the 13,000-seat multi-purpose arena is treated differently because it’s an entertainment and event venue that operates in a much different manner than traditional government facilities.

“The Coliseum is allowed greater leeway when it comes to the issue of requiring masks in the building and giving show promoters and sports teams the ability to decide for themselves in the areas they rent or use,” the board stated in a statement.

When it comes to events at the arena, event organizers are the ones that will make the decision if masks will be required or if it will be a recommendation. The Coliseum made this announcement on its website and it went into effect on Tuesday. Not only will event planners set the restrictions on masks, they will also have the authority to set the social distancing standards.

According to Randy Brown, general manger for the Coliseum, this is a response to Governor Holcomb lifting the mandate and capacity restrictions.

“Many of our clients [like the Komets, and commencement clients] have made the decision to continue to require facemasks, they are going to continue social distancing and the reduce capacities” Brown said. “But our other clients are making other decisions. The Home and Garden Show next week will be an event at full capacity, masks are optional as determined by our client.”

Brown added that the Coliseum will continue its enhanced cleaning to make guests feel safe, and he strongly recommends masks, but the decision is no longer his to make.

“It’s very similar to concealed carry weapons being permitted for certain events. The state legislators made it where county employees [such as myself] cannot dictate with any given space whether weapons are allowed at an event,” said Brown. “A guy over a knife show says ‘hey weapons are fine, we sell guns at our event’. Another event, like Komet Hockey or Mad Ants Basketball would say ‘No, we don’t want that’, that’s our clients making that determination.”

For more information regarding the Coliseum’s COVID-19 response, click here.

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