Social Distancing will be Prominent When Sporting Complexes Reopen

Aficionados across the United States await the return of professional sports and the reopening of stadiums and sports complexes. The bad news at this point is that we simply do not know exactly when fans can return in mass-scale to watch live sporting events. The good news is that they will eventually return — although likely with some pandemic-induced protocols.

While hard timelines remain estimations and could change with a new spike in COVID cases, organizations are planning for the time when they can reopen their gates. As they plan, they will seek guidance from health officials to establish screening protocols for workers and guests to minimize sick individuals from entering. They will also seek guidance on face coverings, temperature checks and social distancing to mitigate the risk of exposure in case potentially contagious individuals attend events.

One of the most prominent changes fans will assuredly see when sporting facilities reopen is the practice of social distancing. Pre-game festivities that typically draw large crowds are likely to be cancelled, with tailgaters closely watched to ensure they maintain appropriate distance. Lines to enter facilities, at concession stands and restrooms will probably be much longer as individuals are kept at safe distances. Seating capacity will also be reduced, with seats left empty for space to separate fans.

Temperature screening stations near gate entrances will also be a probable addition to the stadium experience, with those displaying a high temperature being directed to additional screening by on-hand medical personnel who will determine if they can enter the facility. Then of course, there will be protocols for the wearing of face coverings by spectators, staff and first responders.

As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus, we might not know exactly when sports will return in its past form. But they will, and we will have to adapt to the changes required to keep the pandemic under control.

This article originally appeared in the July / August 2020 issue of Security Today.

About the Author

Peter Ford is the director of G4S Corporate Risk Services.

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