I spoke to the inspector having jurisdiction and he said that drip protection definitely required for electrical rooms as stated in the rules, but will also enforce in other areas if its possible for water to pool on top of the panel board.
In this case side entry allowed unless using connectors capable of greatly restricting the amount of water allowed in. Oddly a dry type EMT connector would be accepted for top entry, a flex connector not.
Gray area. Best to check first.