Rio Tinto Stadium lifts mask mandate for upcoming RSL home game

Masks are still ‘strongly recommended’ by the club.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Real Salt Lake fans celebrate a goal by Real Salt Lake forward Rubio Rubin (14), in MLS action between Real Salt Lake and Sporting Kansas City at Rio Tinto Stadium, on Saturday, May 1, 2021.

Real Salt Lake’s home game Saturday against Nashville SC will have less COVID-19 restrictions.

The club announced Tuesday that Rio Tinto Stadium will not require fans to wear face masks, though they are still highly encouraged to do so. For fans who feel more comfortable wearing masks and social distancing, the team will make “special seating arrangements” for them.

The seating capacity at the RioT is still 10,000, but that number could increase “based upon the safety and comfort of our fans,” the club said in a statement.

An RSL spokesperson told The Salt Lake Tribune that based on guidance from the state health department, the stadium has the ability to expand beyond 10,000. If demand should exceed that figure, though, the maximum capacity would not be significantly more than that so as to keep social distancing guidelines.

The stadium saw 10,448 fans for last Saturday’s game against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Other protocols will remain unchanged for the Nashville game.

“Seating will remain physically distanced, and our staff, stadium security and concession workers will still be required to wear masks,” the club said. “Players, coaches, and game officials will still be required to follow MLS safety guidelines.”

The change in protocols — which so far is only for Saturday’s game — comes a week after Utah lifted the majority of coronavirus restrictions due to the state meeting three criteria set by HB294, the so-called COVID-19 “endgame” bill.