The University of Maine black bear outside of Memorial Gym is decorated in a blue mask on Monday, the first day of students moving into dorms. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik

The University of Maine is expanding COVID-19 protocols for attending indoor events on campus or at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor, where the men’s and women’s basketball teams play.

Starting on Jan. 4, 2022, the University of Maine System will require anyone 5 or older attending an indoor event with more than 250 people to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or receive a negative test within 72 hours of the gathering. Proof of vaccination or a negative test will be required.

Face masks are also required for all people 2 and older while indoors. The University of Maine System extended that requirement through March 20, 2022.

The change to the University of Maine System’s policy comes as the state continues to see a surge in daily COVID-19 cases and new records in hospitalizations. On Friday, 383 Mainers were hospitalized with COVID-19, surpassing the previous record of 381. Of those 383 hospitalized patients, 113 Mainers are in critical care, while 68 are on ventilators.

The updated guidance also reflects a recent recommendation from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that children ages 5 to 11 receive COVID-19 vaccines.

Previously, children 12 and under did not need to provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test to attend indoor events at the University of Maine System.

The UMaine System also may require children younger than 5 to pass a symptom check to participate in an indoor gathering of more than 250 people starting Jan. 4.

If you have purchased tickets to games after Jan. 4 and would like a refund, contact the Black Bear ticket office at 207-581-2327, Monday-Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., or by email at