Dolphins Announce Plan for Fans to Attend Games Amidst COVID-19 and Social Distancing Concerns

Yahoo – Hard Rock Stadium can hold around 65,000 fans, but Garfinkel said it might be closer to a 15,000-fan maximum this season to adjust to social distancing and to keep everyone safe. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) currently recommends keeping six feet (two arms lengths) from other people and to avoid crowded places and mass gatherings.

The team would also schedule arrivals and assist with exiting after the game. The plans include fans being required to wear masks...The examples show colored spots on the ground to show what six feet of distancing looks like, not unlike what grocery stores have done near registers to keep from having a mass crush of people together in one spot.

Attendees would order food from their seats and leave to pick it up instead of waiting in line, just as people are doing elsewhere with curbside pickup.

I’m holding out hope for some semblance of sports to resume later this summer, but I’m not exactly optimistic. By all accounts, it would seem our best bet of sports returning any time soon is some form of games without fans in attendance. Even that has plenty of hurdles to overcome, most of which revolve around logistics. The NBA has kicked around the idea of every team playing a tournament in Las Vegas, while basically on lockdown in a bubble. MLB has considered restructuring leagues and having teams play games in just a handful of Spring Training stadiums to reduce cross country travel, but even that would require players to be away from their families for four months straight. So every story you read about how or when sports can return leaves me with a pretty bleak outlook.

However, a failure to plan is a plan to fail so teams are doing their due diligence and trying to figure out how exactly they could safely allow fans back in the stadiums.

The Dolphins came out with a proposed plan of how to safely bring back fans once the government gives the green light and it has a serious dystopian future vibe.

  • 15,000 fans allowed in the stadium (compared to 65,000 normally)
  • All fans required to wear masks
  • Order food and drinks from your seats rather than waiting in line
  • Staggered arrival times and exiting “much like a church environment, where each row exits so people aren’t filing out all at the same time in a herd.”

Before all this I was a borderline germaphobe, so I am not going to be one of the first fans jumping through hoops just to pay $200 to attend a game in person. Sports on TV would be more than enough for me right now, but you know plenty of people are dying to get out of the house and return to something resembling normal.

Who knows, maybe this becomes the preferred way of going to a game and it acts like a form of EZ-Pass. With just 15,000 people and assigned entrance times you could just breeze into town and right up to your seat. Anyone who has been to a Pats game in the last decade knows its a 3 hour tour just getting out of the parking lot and back home after a game. OR the demand for tickets will go through the roof because of the limited supply and we’ll all look back and laugh at how cheap $200 Patriots tickets were before COVID.

It’s crazy to think about how the next Patriots home game could look more like a college lacrosse game with less than a quarter of the seats filled, and have it not be because Tom Brady’s gone. It’s going to take a long time for things to return to normal, if at all, depending on how long the coronavirus lingers. So until then we’ll have to take what we can get as everything from our offices to bars and restaurants to concerts and games at Gillette Stadium slowly figures out how to bring people back together once again.

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