By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published Dec 31, 2021 at 12:01 PM

With the increase in COVID cases across the globe thanks to the omicron variant, Fiserv Forum is reinstating its previous mask mandate for all patrons at all upcoming sports and entertainment events hosted at the Downtown arena. 

As first reported by JS Online, the mandate will go into effect starting on Friday, Dec. 31 with the Harlem Globetrotters annual New Year's visit, with the Bucks' and Marquette's next home games – against the New Orleans Pelicans and Creighton, respectively – both taking place the following day with the new protocols. 

"Fiserv Forum is committed to providing the safest environment for our players, talent, employees and fans," states an official Fiserv Forum mask announcement, made Thursday. "Like many companies, we are working through the challenges of this unprecedented situation. With the new omicron variant and an increase in COVID-19 cases, we are following the recommendation from the CDC and will immediately require all fans attending events at Fiserv Forum to wear a mask regardless of vaccination status."

Fiserv Forum previously instated a mask mandate when it originally reopened in February of 2021. With vaccines available and cases subsiding, masks were then shifted to a strongly advised recommendation in June, with only fans seated courtside or within 15 feet of the court – sections AAA, BBB, CCC and DDD – required to wear masks when the current Bucks season started in October. Fans seated in those sections closest to the court also have to be vaccinated or show proof of a negative test within 48 hours of the game's tipoff – a rule still in place as well. 

The mask mandate applies to all attendees aged two and older, regardless of vaccination status, and will be in effect when entering Fiserv Forum, when walking in the concourses and when seated save for while actively eating or drinking. Face shields, bandanas, gaiters, scarves, costume masks, vented masks and single-layer fabric face coverings will not qualify as masks. 

There is currently no end date for Fiserv Forum's reinstated mask mandate, but the building's policies will be evaluated on a weekly basis based on the ever-evolving state of the pandemic in Wisconsin.

For more information on Fiserv Forum's COVID-19 policies, visit their website. And for more updates, stay tuned to OnMilwaukee.

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.