NASCAR announced Tuesday an update to its COVID-19 event operations protocol at the racetrack. Starting this weekend at Watkins Glen International, face masks will be required indoors at all times, regardless of vaccination status.
Indoor and enclosed areas include the media center, restrooms, the infield care center, race control and suites. NASCAR rolled back pandemic restrictions and masking requirements in the competition area at its racetracks over the last few months as COVID-19 cases declined. However, the sanctioning body’s policy reversal of not requiring masks indoors for vaccinated individuals comes on the advice of consulting physicians and recently issued medical guidance.
The latest CDC guidelines recommend that vaccinated individuals wear a mask indoors in areas of substantial or high transmission to maximize protection from the Delta variant of COVID-19. NASCAR is not requiring that masks be worn outdoors when at NASCAR events, provided individuals refrain from sustained close contact, per the updated protocol.
NASCAR has also altered its plans of hosting a pre-race media bullpen with drivers indoors by moving the availability outdoors and asking visiting media members at the track to avoid close contact with fellow reporters and competitors as much as possible during pre-race, post-race and care center media engagements.