Even though the city of Portland ends its indoor mask mandate on Thursday, fans will be required to wear masks at Troubh Ice Arena and other venues in the city hosting high school playoff games. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

Even as the city of Portland ends its indoor mask mandate on Thursday, fans attending Maine Principals’ Association tournament games at Portland venues will be required to wear masks indoors.

The MPA boys’ and girls’ basketball tournaments begin Friday at the Portland Expo, where games continue through next Wednesday before moving to Cross Insurance Arena.

Andy Downs, the director of public assembly facilities for the city of Portland, said in an email Wednesday that the mask mandate remains in place at the Expo because it was established before Portland adopted its citywide mandate.

“The mask requirement for all attendees over 2 years old will remain in place at the Portland Exposition Building for the MPA Tournament and all publicly attended events until further notice,” he said. “Masks can be removed while actively eating and drinking. This policy was in place prior to the Citywide mandate and will continue to be reviewed going forward.”

Downs noted that the city has been “fielding many inquiries” regarding this subject in the last few days.

He added that the mask mandate also applies to Troubh Arena, site of the girls’ hockey state championship game Saturday, as well as some boys’ hockey regional games.


The Expo also requires proof of COVID-19 vaccination, or printed proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event or a negative rapid test within 12 hours before the start time. That is not required at Troubh Arena.

All fans attending games at Cross Insurance Arena in Portland also will be required to wear masks and show proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

Bill O’Malley, the regional marketing director for Cross Insurance Arena, said the venue will adopt a stricter policy than normal if asked by the promoter or show runner. Typically, the arena only “strongly recommends” masks for fans 12-and-older.

In an email Wednesday, O’Malley said, “In this case, the MPA are requiring all guests wear a mask regardless of vaccine policy except when eating and drinking.”

Mike Burnham, the MPA’s executive director, said the association is simply following Maine CDC recommendations, which include indoor masking. He doesn’t believe the mask requirement will affect attendance greatly.

“I honestly don’t think we’ll lose a lot of fans,” said Burnham. “Our hope is that the fans will come out and support these kids and these teams and that the wearing of a mask is a small price to pay.”

Masks are also required for fans at MPA tournament sites at the Augusta Civic Center and Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. Those arenas do not require proof of vaccination or a negative test result.

These will be the first basketball state tournaments held since the 2019-20 school year. Last year’s tournaments were canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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