US venue shoot the works for fans’ safety


Washington Capital One Arena prepares fans for return Image: Washington Capitals

The Office of the D.C. Mayor, D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, and D.C. Health have all given the thumbs-up to Capital One Arena (US) opening to a limited number of fans per game in the arena, capped at 10 percent of the capacity, which equates to 2,100 fans per game.

‘Monumental Sports & Entertainment’ stated that the Washington Wizards of the National Basketball Association (NBA) will play their first home game in front of fans on April 21st, 2021 against the NBA team Golden State Warriors and the National Hockey League (NHL) team Washington Capitals will play their first home game in front of fans on April 27th, 2021 against the NHL team New York Islanders in the Capital One Arena.

The 20,356-capacity Capital One Arena is an indoor arena in Washington, D.C., (US). Located in the Penn Quarter neighborhood, the arena sits atop the Gallery Place rapid transit station of the Washington Metro. It is home to the NBA’s Washington Wizards, the NHL’s Washington Capitals and the Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball team.

The Washington Wizards are an American professional basketball team based in Washington, D.C. The Wizards compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the League’s Eastern Conference Southeast Division.

The Golden State Warriors are an American professional basketball team based in San Francisco. The Warriors compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the League’s Western Conference Pacific Division. Their residence is the 18,064-capacity Chase Center in San Francisco, California (US).

The Washington Capitals are a professional ice hockey team based in Washington, D.C., (US). They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the East Division. The Capitals are owned by Monumental Sports & Entertainment.

The New York Islanders are a professional ice hockey team based in Uniondale, New York (US). They compete in the National Hockey League (NHL) as a member of the East Division. The team plays its home games at the 14,500-capacity Nassau Coliseum in New York.

The Georgetown Hoyas men’s basketball program represents Georgetown University in the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I men’s intercollegiate basketball and the Big East Conference. Georgetown has competed in men’s college basketball since 1907.

Washington, D.C.,-based Monumental Sports & Entertainment is America’s leading sports and entertainment family. It invests and innovates to consistently raise the game so that they can deliver extraordinary experiences that will inspire and unite the community, fans, and people. It owns and operates the Capital One Arena.

‘Monumental Sports & Entertainment’ quoted Monumental Sports & Entertainment Founder and CEO, Ted Leonsis, as stating, “Our fans fuel everything our players and teams accomplish, and they have been deeply missed. Our country has been through great stress over the past year, and it has taken a mental toll on all of us, but we know that sports are a great healer. So, we thank Mayor Muriel Bowser (Mayor of the District of Columbia) and her team for approving our vigorous health and safety plan so that some of our passionate Caps and Wizards fans may gather – with the first games being attended by some of our incredible first responders and frontline COVID-19 workers.”

The Wizards, Capitals and Monumental Sports & Entertainment will invite and pay ode to hundreds of pre-selected frontline workers to the April 21st and April 27th games in recognition of their selfless service during the coronavirus scourge which has inflicted the maximum devastation and has taken a huge toll on lives in the United States. Due to the very limited tickets to be made available, priority for ticketing will be given to season ticket members and partners, with information forthcoming on ticket availability for the general public.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment and Mayor Bowser’s administration officials have worked in close collaboration through the approval process to open Capital One Arena to limited onlookers, operating all games by sticking to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), DC Health, NBA, NHL protocols and in consultation with medical partner, MedStar Health. Monumental Sports has also made significant capital investments in tested, best-in-industry technologies to go above and beyond minimum standards for a safe and healthy environment for athletes, team staff, event employees, and fans. This plan and series of protocols has been officially approved by DC’s Homeland Security and Emergency Services Agency (HSEMA).

COVID-appropriate behavior

  • Face masks: Fans will have to wear face masks that cover both the nose and mouth once inside Capital One Arena. This is irrespective of one’s vaccination status. All persons aged two years and above must wear face coverings. Neck gaiters, face masks with valves or vents, costume masks and bandanas will not be accepted as face coverings. Face shields may be considered in addition to a face mask, but not in place of one. Approved face masks will be provided for guests who require them. Wearing of face masks has been made mandatory all the time, except when he or she is actively eating and drinking and this policy will be enforced by guest relations, event staff and arena security. Repeated, non-compliance with this policy will lead to the offending fan being removed from the arena;
  • Health screening: Health screening will include a series of questions ahead of entry. A statement sent out by Monumental Sports & Entertainment stated, “All fans entering Capital One Arena will be required to verbally verify the following health survey questions: Have you felt like you had a fever in the past 24 hours? Do you have any of the following symptoms? New or unusual cough, shortness of breath, sore throat, runny nose, body aches, loss of taste and/or smell, diarrhea, vomiting, fever, chills, sweats, nasal congestion, and headache? Have you, or anyone you have been in close contact with, been diagnosed with COVID-19, or been placed on quarantine for possible COVID-19 within the past 14 days? Have you felt like you had a fever in the past 24 hours?”;
  • Ticketing: All tickets will be issued electronically, will be mobile-only and paper tickets will not be honored. Tickets should be downloaded to the ticketholder’s smartphone using their app of purchase (i.e., the team app, Ticketmaster, third party vendor, etc.) or the ticketholder’s mobile wallet and will be scanned via “near field communications” technology (hovering the phone close to the arena staff’s scanner);
  • Seating: Tickets will be sold in pods of one to four seats and placed in a staggered manner throughout each seating section to maintain six feet of distance between groups of ticket holders. Some season ticket members or suite holders may be slightly adjusted to accommodate these distancing rules and those with questions should contact their ticket sales associates. No aisle tickets are available to ensure six-foot distance from those ascending or descending the stairs to their ticketed seat;
  • Arena Entry: Fans will enter Capital One Arena through specific, dedicated points of entry which are correlated to the section of the arena where the fan’s seat is located. This spreads the volume across the arena and reduces the number of people in any concentrated space;
  • Cohort Enforcement: The design of fan flow through the arena follows a “cohort” protocol, restricting movement between groups so that cohorts use the same entrance/exit, same set of elevators/escalators, occupy the same areas of the concourse and have access to the same set of restrooms and concession areas. This ensures neighborhoods of fans are evenly spaced throughout the arena, on each arena level and within each section. Arena security and event staff will be monitoring and enforcing the necessary, regimented movements;
  • Bag Policy: Bags are not permitted in the arena. Items larger than 14”x14”x6” will not be permitted and all handheld items will go through X-ray machines upon entry;
  • Elevators: Only fans and those within their immediate party may ride in an elevator together, with maximum occupancy no greater than three;
  • Escalators: Fans should maintain at least six feet of distance between their party and others while boarding and on escalators;
  • Limited Movement: Fans are expected to remain seated through most of the game, rising for the national anthem, concessions, or restroom only. All food and drink must be consumed in the assigned seat and loitering on the concourse will not be permitted;
  • Social Distancing: Fans should always maintain a six-foot distance from those who are not within the fan’s party. Floor stickers in the concourses, at concession stands and in the bathrooms marking these distances are provided;
  • Touchless Pay: Fans can pay with their Capital One card, any major debit or credit card, or Apple Pay for any food or merchandise in the Capital One Arena. All concession stands have cashless/no-touch options for payment through smartphone apps and credit card payments. Please note that D.C. law prohibits the arena to be entirely cashless, so that option remains available. Capital One Cardholders receive 10 percent off their purchase when they present and use a Capital One credit or debit card at checkout. The discount is only applicable at the time of sale;
  • Concession Food Options: All food sold at concession stands will be pre-packaged, quick bite options intended to be picked up and consumed at the fan’s ticketed seat. Loitering or consumption of food or beverage on the concourses will not be permitted and violators will be ushered to their seats by guest relations, event staff and security. Cashless transactions are highly encouraged to minimize contact. Distancing guidelines will be provided for guests while waiting in line. Food and beverage items will be covered when served. Condiments, utensils and straws will be provided in individual packets upon request. All contact surfaces will be cleaned in between guest transactions. Limited food and beverage items will be made available for purchase directly from one’s seat with roving food and beverage sales teams accepting cashless transactions only. Alcohol cut-off times will be adjusted to ensure compliance with DC Health and City Waiver requirements;
  • Concourses: Congregating is not permitted on the concourse. Food and beverages are only to be consumed in one’s dedicated seat. Face coverings are required in all areas except for when actively eating or drinking in seats. No food or drink may be consumed in bars, restaurants, or on the concourses;
  • Parking: The garage at Capital One Arena (accessible on 6th Street at G Street NW) will not be open for public parking. Though parking is temporarily unavailable at Capital One Arena, partners at Spot Hero have a network of nearby parking garages available via the Spot Hero app and website.; and
  • Team Store: The Team Store at Capital One Arena will not be open during games. Retail pop-up locations will be available to fans within their cohort locations and accessible during games. Regular store hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10am to 4pm.


GBAC Star Accreditation

In November 2020, it was announced that the Capital One Arena had achieved its Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) STAR™ accreditation, the gold standard for prepared facilities. The program and the corresponding accreditation confirm that the arena has established and maintains a cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention program to control and/or minimize risk associated with infectious agents such as COVID-19 for employees, customers, clients, visitors, the community, and the environment. The GBAC accreditation provides assurance that proper cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease prevention work practices are in place and have been implemented.

COVID-19 testing

The NBA and NHL have strict protocols in place on daily testing for athletes, coaching and training staff and other team and event personnel with proximity to on court/on-ice functions. Monumental Sports & Entertainment has point-of-care COVID-19 testing for all other gameday staff and vendors.

The Capital One Arena is pulling out all stops to ensure that fans are safe inside the arena on gamedays and is leaving nothing to chance.

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