Football in the Time of COVID
When — if? — fans go to AT&T Stadium in Arlington for Dallas Cowboys games this season, they can expect to sit in "pods," wear masks, and pay with cashless transactions.
These are just a few of the COVID-19 safety measures outlined in the club's new Safe Stadium Policy, announced August 13.
“These are challenging and unprecedented times for our country, our community, and our Cowboys fans at home in Texas and all around the world,” said Charlotte Jones, Dallas Cowboys chief brand officer, in a statement. “The Dallas Cowboys value health and safety as our first priority, and we will continue to work closely with local public safety and public health professionals, the CDC and the NFL to ensure that our unrivaled fan experience at AT&T Stadium is the safest and best it can possibly be."
Capacity of AT&T Stadium will be limited to start the 2020 season, though the Cowboys did not announce a specific number or percentage. (Gov. Greg Abbott has capped attendance at sporting events at 50 percent.) The Cowboys will continue to work with guidelines from the CDC, the State of Texas, local public safety, and public health authorities to determine any changes, they say. The team also pointed out that the sheer size of the 80,000-seat stadium and unique aspects like the retractable roof and end zone door design aid in safety measures.
Tickets will be distributed in seat blocks known as “pods” to maintain distance between groups who are not known to one another. Fans will be required to maintain pod integrity by only transferring tickets to family or friends within their trusted group. Each ticket holder should have their own mobile ticket on their device; there will no longer be physical tickets.
As with pretty much everywhere else in public, all fans will be required to wear a mask once they leave their car, throughout the game, and while walking back to their car. The only exceptions are for when someone is eating or drinking, or for children under 10 years of age.
To ensure limited contact while buying concessions, merchandise, or parking, all stadium purchases will be cashless transactions. Major credit and debit cards, as well as mobile pay, will be accepted throughout AT&T Stadium.
Fans will still be allowed to tailgate, but there will be designated spaces for tailgating with at least one space between vehicles required in the tailgating spots. In addition, parties will not be allowed to mingle; everyone must stay in their designated space.
While fans will continue to be scanned upon entry to the stadium, they will go through a frictionless security scan using one of 60 socially-distanced metal detectors.
Other measures include enhanced stadium cleaning, training staff on how to safely do their jobs, providing staff with personal protective equipment, and making sure those serving food follow proper handwashing techniques and clean shared surfaces regularly. All food items will be served in to-go containers along with pre-packaged disposable ware and condiments.