Fans who've protected themselves against COVID-19 with a vaccine may get their own sections during professional hockey games at the Prudential Center in Newark as restrictions loosen in the future.

A spokesperson for Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment, which owns the New Jersey Devils, said conversations are being had about possibly introducing "vaccinated sections" at the team's home venue.

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Dave Sholler, executive vice president of communications for the company, said it's not expected that vaccination will be mandatory for entry. There's been heavy debate recently over the idea of "vaccine passports" — Gov. Phil Murphy hasn't ruled out the possibility in the Garden State, but he also hasn't endorsed the idea.

"We're always going to have to have a carve-out, understanding that not everyone's going to want to get vaccinated," Sholler said during a Thursday morning webinar sponsored by Stockton University and the Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. "I don't think we can ostracize those folks. We need to figure out how to make this as safe as possible for as many people as possible."

Harris Blitzer, which is based in Camden, also owns the Philadelphia 76ers; similar conversations are underway related to their "home," the Wells Fargo Center, Sholler said.

"I think some of the perception in the public is, it's applying some sort of pressure to people who don't feel comfortable getting vaccines," he said. "It's actually the opposite — it's trying to figure out how we can get more fans into our building to enjoy events."

Sholler said as guidance from officials continues to evolve, vaccinated strangers in New Jersey may get the green light to sit close to one another at public venues.

Large indoor venues are currently being held to 20% capacity in New Jersey. Masking and social distancing rules must be followed.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark has announced that event attendees will have to either show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test.

The Los Angeles Dodgers, a professional baseball team, recently announced the creation of seating areas for fully vaccinated fans at the team's outdoor stadium.

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