The Miami Dolphins delivered a look at what an NFL season might look like this autumn during the COVID-19 crisis that has halted all leagues, practices and training opportunities.
Tom Garfinkel, the team’s CEO and president, shared on Monday’s “Good Morning America” plans and mock-ups for hosting fans at Hard Rock Stadium this season that comply with social distancing measures. It included plans for varied arrival times, exiting row by row, ordering food pickups from the stands and reducing attendance.
With the NFL set to announce the 2020 schedule this week, here’s an exclusive look at how the @MiamiDolphins are safely preparing @HardRockStadium for the upcoming season amid the pandemic, including a major accreditation. Our report on @GMA pic.twitter.com/ogbCOE7UuB— Victor Oquendo (@VictorOquendo) May 4, 2020
Dolphins plan for social distancing at stadium
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.
“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,” Garfinkel said on “GMA.” “We would exit the stadium much like a church environment, where each row exits so people aren’t filing out all at the same time in a herd.”
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.
Dolphins’ plan has STAR cleaning accreditation in mind
Hard Rock Stadium, which is currently a COVID-19 testing site, would be the first to earn the Global Biorisk Advisory Council's STAR accreditation, per “Good Morning America.” GBAC is a division of ISSA, the worldwide cleaning industry association, and issues standards used for facilities to implement cleaning, disinfecting and infectious disease prevention work practices to control risks involved with infectious agents. Hyatt committed to the reaching the standards last week.
“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, via ESPN. “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 the GBAC ensures compliances 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.”
The STAR accreditation would allow for the stadium to reopen and host fans once the government gives the clear for activities to resume, per ESPN.
Dade County is one of the harder hit locations in Florida with 12,775 confirmed cases and 369 deaths, per Johns Hopkins data as of Monday afternoon. The state began lifting stay-at-home orders on Monday.
NFL teams are taking part in virtual offseason training programs and the league intends to begin its 2020 season on schedule. The NFL intends to release the schedule this week with games beginning Sept. 10. It announced earlier Monday that there will be no international games this season while it establishes consistent protocols at home stadiums for the “well-being of players, personnel and fans.”
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