By Ian Oland
Monumental Sports & Entertainment had their waiver approved last week by the DC government to reopen Capital One Arena for Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards games. Now, MSE is announcing its plans moving forward.
The Washington Capitals’ first game with fans will be their April 27th home game against the New York Islanders. 2,100 fans will be allowed to attend at a maximum, which is 10 percent capacity. The Capitals will give tickets to DMV first responders and frontline and essential workers of the COVID-19 response and honor them during the game.
“Our fans bring a lot of energy to our arena,” Jakub Vrana said recently. “They’re like an extra player for us. Even if it’s not going to be full, we’ll still be happy to see people in the stands cheering for us, giving us some extra energy. We’ve been missing that. Without them, it’s been quiet out there.”
On April 27, our building will no longer be empty.
Welcome back, #ALLCAPS fans. We've missed you!
Ticket Info: https://t.co/pAg84GrNrU pic.twitter.com/iAjZpN4PLM
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 12, 2021
According to MSE, the Capitals will give season-ticket holders first crack at tickets.
“Due to the very limited tickets to be made available, priority for ticketing will be given to season ticket members,” the Capitals wrote in a release. “Capitals season ticket members will have the first opportunity to purchase tickets through a pre-sale for remaining home games starting with the Capitals vs. New York Islanders game on April 27. If there is any remaining single-game ticket availability for a general public sale, related information will be communicated at a later date.”
“Our fans fuel everything our players and teams accomplish, and they have been deeply missed,” Ted Leonsis said in the release. “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 Bowser 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.”
MSE announced a variety of new rules and protocols to keep fans safe. All fans two years old and up must wear masks at all times “that cover both the nose and mouth.” The “policy will be enforced by guest relations, event staff and arena security. Repeated, non-compliance… will subject the offending fan to removal from the arena.” The only times the mask can come down is “short windows while actively eating and drinking.”
Seats will be sold “in pods of one to four seats” and there is a limited movement requirement. “Fans are expected to remain seated through most of the game, rising for the national anthem, concessions, or restroom only.” There will be “floor stickers in the concourses, at concession stands, and in the bathrooms” to help encourage social distancing.
Coming into the game, there will be health screenings, though it does not appear that fans need to have a negative test or a card to prove they have been fully vaccinated to enter.
MSE has also published a “COVID-19 Warning & Assumption of Risk” for anyone who attends. It reads:
An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any place where people gather. COVID-19 is an extremely contagious disease that can lead to severe illness and death. By attending any event at Capital One Arena, you assume all risks, hazards, and dangers arising from or relating in any way to the risk of contracting COVID-19 or any other communicable disease or illness, or a bacteria, virus, or other pathogens capable of causing a communicable disease or illness, whether occurring before, during, or after the event, however, caused or contracted, and voluntarily waive all claims and potential claims against Capital One Arena, Monumental Sports & Entertainment, Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, event promoters, vendors, and their affiliated companies, and any of their respective present and future subsidiaries, affiliates, partners, members, officers, directors, employees, stakeholders, shareholders, agents, other representatives, successors and assigns event promoters, vendors, and their affiliated companies relating to such risks.
Monumental Sports & Entertainment’s press release is below:
Monumental Sports & Entertainment Continues Focus on Health and Safety as Capital One Arena Opens to Washington Capitals and Wizards Fans Beginning Next Week
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bower, D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency and D.C. Health granted approval to allow 10% percent capacity, approximately 2,100 fans at games
Wizards April 21st home game against the Warriors and the Capitals April 27th home game against the Islanders will be first games played in front of fans in over a year – both teams will honor DMV first responders, frontline and essential workers of the COVID-19 response during their first games back with fans
Washington, D.C. (April 12, 2021) – The Office of the D.C. Mayor, D.C. Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency, and D.C. Health have approved Capital One Arena opening to a limited number of fans per game in the arena, capped at 10 percent of capacity, which equates to 2,100 fans per game. The Wizards will play their first home game in front of fans on Wednesday, April 21, 2021 against the Golden State Warriors and the Capitals will play their first home game in front of fans on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, against the New York Islanders.
The Wizards, Capitals and Monumental Sports & Entertainment will invite and honor hundreds of pre-selected frontline workers to the April 21 and 27 games in recognition of their efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic. 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.
For information on how to secure tickets and the newly imposed health and safety protocols, please visit: www.monumentalsports.com/health-safety
Monumental Sports & Entertainment and Mayor Bowser’s administration officials have worked together closely through the approval process to open Capital One Arena to limited fans, operating all games with adherence to CDC, 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).
New health and safety protocol highlights:
Face masks: Face masks that cover both the nose and mouth are always required when inside Capital One Arena – regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. All persons aged 2 year and old must wear a face covering. Neck gaiters, face masks with valves or vents, costume masks and bandanas are not acceptable face covering and will not honor this requirement. Face shields may be worn in addition to a face mask, but not in place of one. Approved face masks will be provided for guests who require them. Face masks are required to remain on, except during the short windows while 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 subject the offending fan to removal from the arena.
Health Screening: 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?
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., 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 staggard 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 3.
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: Pay with your Capital One card, any major debit or credit card, or Apple Pay for any food or merchandise in 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% 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. Visit http://www.capitalonearena.com/cardholderbenefits for additional details.
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 your 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 consumed in your 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. http://www.spothero.com
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. Entrance to the Team Store at Capital One Arena is on F Street adjacent to the Arena entrances. Capital One Cardholders receive 20% off their purchase when they present and use a Capital One credit or debit card at checkout at any of the pop-up locations and at the Capital One Arena Team Store during other normal hours. The discount is only applicable at the time of sale. Visit www.capitalonearena.com/cardholderbenefits for additional details.
New capital investments and health and safety improvement highlights:
GBAC Star Accreditation: In November 2020, it was announced that 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 implemented.
Enhanced Air Filtration: Monumental Sports & Entertainment has installed MERV 13 air filters, considered hospital-quality by industry experts, throughout the entire arena’s HVAC system.
Fresh Air Intake and Exchange System Improvements: Monumental Sports & Entertainment retained the expertise of ME Engineers for a full HVAC study and response plan to optimize existing arena HVAC systems and recommended improvements for mitigation of spreading airborne infectious diseases, which have been implemented at Capital One Arena. The arena has completed a full Air Handler Unit Testing and Balancing Audit through an independent auditor, Metro Test and Balance, and has received its NEBB Certified Balance Report – an industry measurement of the highest environmental performance. The air flow system within the arena has been optimized to provide roughly 23 times more fresh air into the arena that the original design code, at 10% capacity. This is also 10x more fresh air than in malls and 7x fresher than movie theaters are designed to provide.
Plexiglass Barriers: Monumental Sports & Entertainment has installed plexiglass barriers at various points of intersection of fans with event staff, at concession stands, checkout register at team store pop-ups, etc.
Arena Sanitization Teams: Monumental Sports & Entertainment and partner, Aramark Facilities, are deploying products and technologies following the guidance of the CDC, WHO, DC Health and HSEMA. The cleaning standard operating procedures have been updated to ensure proper cleaning and disinfection safeguards are in place at the facility. Under this protocol, the Aramark Facilities team has trained staff ready to disinfect spaces or, if deemed necessary, work with a partner vendor for enhanced third party cleaning if a suspected or COVID+ person occupies a space in the facility. The Clorox Clean Team is focused on the complete sanitization of high-touch areas around the arena before, during and after events. Daycon, an MSE partner, supplies a full suite of best-in-class cleaning and disinfecting products that are being used throughout Capital One Arena to provide a clean and safe environment for all fans.
Enhanced Cleaning and Disinfecting Procedures: High-touch surfaces (door handles, elevator buttons, escalator railings, etc.), restrooms, eating tables, and within the seating bowl are being cleaned at accelerated intervals. After every event, all spaces and seating areas will go through an additional rigorous disinfection process, using a full suite of best-in-class cleaning and disinfecting products from MSE partners, Clorox, Libman and Daycon. Restrooms will be sanitized and cleaned frequently.
Additional Cleaning Resources: Capital One Arena has a maintained stock of List N solutions, an EPA-approved and registered list of products which kill the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19), to ensure a clean environment for all stakeholders at the arena. These include Diversey Virex II 256 and Diversey Oxivir Wipes. Monumental Sports & Entertainment has also invested in multiple backpack E-Mist EPIX360 and handheld EM360 Electrostatic Disinfection systems to increase the efficiency and ability to disinfect spaces throughout the facility in a timely manner.
Healthe Ceiling Troffers: Monumental Sports & Entertainment has installed 47 state-of-the-art air sanitizing ceiling troffers in key locations for athletes and other performers inside Capital One Arena. Called Healthe AIR™, these troffers provide continuous sanitization to improve air quality in occupied indoor spaces by combining the germicidal properties of ultraviolet lite and carbon activated filtration.
Clorox Products for Game Staff: Clorox is the Exclusive Cleaning, Disinfecting, and Sanitizing Product Partner of the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, Washington Mystics and Capital One Arena. They sponsor the “Capital One Arena Clean Team” by providing product to help maintain cleanliness from concourses to seating areas and beyond for every event at Capital One Arena. The Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards Team Operations and Game Day Productions staff will have Clorox products in their vicinity throughout all games to regularly sanitize their areas and promote healthy hygiene.
Hand Sanitizer Stations: Monumental Sports & Entertainment has installed 100+ hand sanitizer stations in key positions throughout the arena including arena entrances, escalators, elevators, restrooms, staff break room and team locker rooms, office spaces and high traffic corridors. Cleaning wipes are located at key, high touchpoint areas for personnel to treat items or shared equipment.
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 game day staff and vendors.
For more information on all these new policies, standards and protocols visit: www.monumentalsports.com/health-safety. For more information in regard to COVID-19, visit www.MedStarHealth.org/covid.
Headline photo: Elizabeth Kong/RMNB
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