The Challenge of Attending Sports & Entertainment Venues in the Age of COVID-19

COVID-19 brought the enjoyment of going to sports and entertainment events to a screeching halt. The virus has not only affected fans and attendees but it has caused financial problems for the industries that they support. However, there is hope on the horizon. With more people getting the vaccines and companies such as GenePace working with organizers to supply same day testing, the possibilities are increasing to see your favorite team or performer. Experts have estimated that COVID-19 will be part of our global existence for a number of years. As a society we are slowly facing the idea that to protect ourselves and our families, we cannot return to any former state of normal, but instead, create a new one. The world has quickly adapted to the idea of wearing masks, extra hygiene, and social distancing, and now we will become used to COVID-19 testing as part of the process.GenePace is a premier lab that works with Collegiate and Professional sports leagues, event operators, employers, teams, and clubs to help safely get players competing and fans in the stands. The goal at GenePace is to help everyone “Return to Normal,” and we bring onsite testing support so that people can begin enjoying themselves in a secure way.

Indoor and Outdoor Venues

Whenever a large crowd gathers at a sports or entertainment event there is usually a lot of yelling and singing. If precautions aren’t taken these situations can quickly act as super spreaders. To avoid these conditions some event organizers are creating specific strategies to encourage attendees and the teams and celebrities that they love.Safety involves education: The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) states:

  • The closer you are to other people who may be infected, the greater your risk of getting sick.
  • Spending more time with people who may be infected increases your risk of becoming infected.
  • Spending more time with people increases their risk of becoming infected if there is any chance that you may already be infected.
  • Indoor spaces are more risky than outdoor spaces where it might be harder to keep people apart and there’s less ventilation. Indoor areas with good ventilation are better, and outdoor areas are best. Thus, consider that COVID-19 spread is most likely when individuals are in prolonged close contact in an indoor area with poor ventilation, which has implications for both indoor sport training and sport competition planning.

Event coordinators are currently planning on allowing limited capacity attendance with the requirements of social distancing. The strategies are to begin slowly with 30% attendance for outdoor events and 25% attendance for indoor events. This means that for an outdoor arena that can hold 35,000 fans, they will allow 10, 500 fans. All fans and staff will be required to wear masks and social distance, with seating at the 6-feet-apart ruling. There are additional guidelines regarding members of the same family established as “seating pods” with only six people per pod. Additional plans include hygiene stations for fans and staff to use as well as same day testing for all support staff and team members. Some outdoor amusement parks have opened their doors with limited attendance and do require the same CDC recommended guidelines for wearing masks and social distancing. In addition, the parks arrange daily COVID-19 testing for staff and support personnel. Venues of all types have instituted new processes of hygienic cleansing of outside surfaces to help to deter the spread of the virus.

Coordinating Testing

GenePace deploys new technologies for extremely rapid and responsive PCR and Molecular testing. As partners with Butler University, GenePace is an emerging leader involved in the testing process, blending education with practical leadership experience. GenePace knows that none of us have ever experienced a pandemic and scientific information and data is changing every day. The priority of developing strategies to encourage COVID-19 testing is important to assist in maintaining a level of confidence and safety.Part of the specialty services offered by GenePac includes collection and a test administration group that can scale up to tens of thousands of daily collections regionally. GenePace also offers a unique “on call” concierge service in the metro Indianapolis area.The GenePace clinical and physician teams are assisting organizations to create COVID-19 strategies and programs including administration and collection, as well as vetted PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) and testing product needs. A Return-to-Life philosophy involves everyone working together for the safety of all. Even with many getting the vaccines we will be facing the requirement of COVID-19 testing to ensure that there aren’t any infection spikes due to variants. GenePace has designed programs to correspond with any changes that are recommended by the CDC and bring flexibility to those that work with our various testing, lab and medical professional services We want to bring concepts of hope and encourage joy in everyone’s lives but balanced with the safety measures that all must take.

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