MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – Hard Rock Stadium is making some changes as the NFL is set to go ahead with its plans for the upcoming season.
In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the league acknowledged things will look different, and said they’ll be ready for adjustments with a focus on protecting the health of fans, players and personnel.
On Monday, Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel spoke about the changes to “Good Morning America” and released mock ups of how the entrances will soon look like as fans file into the stadium.
The changes include dots on the ground that will keep people 7 feet apart.
“We would have times to come in for security at different gates, so people would be separated out in terms of when they enter the stadium,” Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel said. “We would exit the stadium much like, you know, a church environment or something where each row exits, so people aren’t filing out of the same time in a herd.”
While there will be a much smaller crowd in the stands at the beginning of the season, Garfinkel said he believes people need that physical connection after isolating themselves for several months.
“You know, there’s a human need to physically be together and experience things together and through, you know, the isolation of the last two months, I think there’s a need for that even more,” he said. “It’s certainly going to be different having, call it 15,000 fans instead of 65,000 fans. But I think if we can do it safely and, you know, we have to be able to do it safely, we just won’t do it, obviously. But if we can do it safely, fans can still come and have a great experience and feel safe and be safe. It’s still better than having no fans.”
Meanwhile, Hard Rock Stadium has pledged to become the first public facility to receive GBAC STAR accreditation.
The Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association.
“This initiative will serve as the gold standard for facilities to implement cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention work practices to control risks associated with infectious agents,” a news release from Hard Rock Stadium stated.
“When our fans, players and staff are able to return to Hard Rock Stadium, we want them to have peace of mind that we’re doing everything we can to create the safest and healthiest environment possible,” Garfinkel said. “We didn’t want to create our own standard, we wanted to be accountable to the most credible third-party standard that exists. Working with GBAC ensures compliance with critical guidelines for the highest standard of cleanliness and it is our hope that other venues will follow suit as we navigate through these unprecedented times.”
In order to earn GBAC STAR accreditation, Hard Rock Stadium must complete 20 program elements with specific criteria.
According to the news release, the program will enable Hard Rock Stadium to:
· Establish and maintain a cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention program to control and/or minimize risk associated with infectious agents such as SARS-CoV-2 (responsible for COVID-19 disease) for employees, customers, the community and the environment.
· Provide assurance and establish confidence that proper cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention work practices are in place and implemented.
· Establish a framework for communication and raising awareness of best practices as they relate to cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention.
The full NFL schedule will be announced this week. The 2020 NFL season will begin Sept.10 and wrap up with the Super Bowl on Feb. 7 in Tampa.