SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, Nov. 24, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Utah Jazz announced Tuesday that home games at Vivint Smart Home Arena will be played with a limited number of fans when the NBA season begins in December.
Enhanced health and safety measures implemented throughout the building in consultation with the Utah Department of Health, said a news release from the NBA.
The arena will reopen with a reduced seating capacity of 1,500 in the lower bowl only and limited seating on the suite level, the news release said. Lower and upper bowl season ticket members will be given priority access for socially distanced seating at Jazz games during the arena’s limited capacity.
“The Jazz believe this is a responsible way to start the season from a public health and safety standpoint,” said Jazz President Jim Olson. “Our intent is to increase the number of fans as the season unfolds in compliance with state guidelines. We want to reassure our guests that we are taking the utmost precautions to have a safe and enjoyable experience as they return. We are optimistic for the future and continue to closely monitor the public health situation with State of Utah, Salt Lake County, and Salt Lake City officials as well as the NBA.”
Rich Saunders, interim executive director of the Utah Department of Health, added: “The Utah Jazz have always been an important part of our community, and the team is making every effort to be an example for how we can start to safely resume these types of activities. The Jazz are committed to working with public health professionals and to doing everything they can to ensure the health and safety of their fans, players, staff, and arena employees by implementing important safeguards and limiting the number of people who can attend games in-person. We certainly look forward to welcoming the Jazz back.”
Any preseason games at the arena will be played without fans next month. The league recently announced that the 2020-21 NBA season will begin on Dec. 22 and continue through May. The official 72-game schedule will be announced later.
The Jazz and the arena have partnered with Alsco to deliver essential products to safeguard public health, including hand sanitizer dispensers, masks, gloves and hospital-grade cleaning solutions, the news release said.
For the reintroduction of fans, the arena will implement several safety measures and protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including mandatory face coverings, mobile entry and screening procedures at all entrances, plexiglass barriers at point of sale locations, and social distancing signage.
The arena has earned its Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) certification, an NBA requirement for return to play, for its cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention protocols. The arena has also signed the “Stay Safe to Stay Open” pledge, a partnership between the Salt Lake Chamber and the Utah Department of Health.
The reopening health and safety measures also include:
- Reduced seating capacity for all arena events and six-foot physical distancing in seating pods between groups of guests
- Common spaces such as elevators, retail stores and restrooms subject to reduced capacity, and tables in restaurants to be set six feet apart to best serve physical-distancing protocols
- Face masks always required for guests and staff (age 2+) in the bowl and concourse areas, unless actively eating or drinking
- Full contactless mobile ticketing only with self-service digital scanning for guests at all arena entrances to reduce points of contact with staff
- No bags, purses or clutches allowed to expedite entry and reduce screening touchpoints. Only exceptions are diaper and medical bags that will be X-rayed and cannot be larger than 14x14x6 inches.
- Cash-free environment accepting credit, debit and prepaid cards and mobile payments at all food and beverage and Jazz Team Store points of purchase for a contactless experience. Cash-to-card kiosks located on main and upper concourses.
- New mobile food and beverage ordering system, via the Jazz App, for ordering and paying by mobile phone and offering express pickup locations to maximize physical distancing in concession lines
- Jazz Team Store offering in-seat delivery for merchandise shopping through the Jazz App
- Electrostatic sprayers used to evenly disperse disinfectants across surfaces quickly and evenly with specific staff concentration on high-touch areas
- Hand sanitizer stations located throughout the arena
- HVAC system has been upgraded for higher quality of filtered air to meet NBA standards during pandemic
- Public address announcements and digital signage placed throughout arena to help promote physical distancing
- Arena employees to undergo touchless temperature screening before entering the workplace. All staff to wear face coverings for the duration of every event, routinely wash their hands with soap and water, and physical distance.