BBVA Stadium will reopen its doors to fans on a limited basis for upcoming Houston Dynamo and Houston Dash home matches, the stadium and the teams announced Wednesday.
The announcement comes after the club’s plan to reopen was approved by city of Houston officials, along with both Major League Soccer and the National Women’s Soccer League.
The maximum capacity for events under the plan will be 3,000 fans, which represents 13.6 percent of the stadium’s official capacity of 22,039.
MLS has not released the schedule for Phase 2 of its continuation of play, but that announcement is expected later this week.
The Dash are set to return to BBVA Stadium on Sept. 26 when they host the Orlando Pride as part of the Verizon NWSL Community Shield.
Dynamo and Dash season ticket members will have the first opportunity to claim tickets for each team’s respective matches. An exclusive pre-sale opportunity for all Dynamo and Dash 365 Members will begin on Thursday, during which time they can request seats for upcoming matches.
The club conducted surveys with season ticket members during the break in play and found that more than 60 percent of fans responded that they were interested in attending some or all matches at BBVA Stadium in a socially-distanced setting.
Last month, the Houston Venues & Events Task Force, which includes BBVA Stadium, announced the Houston Clean initiative.
The club said Wednesday the campaign was created to unify the efforts of businesses in a variety of industries throughout the city and present a consistent set of operating guidelines to visitors. Those guidelines serve as a commitment to practice recommended health safety protocols in alignment with orders issued by federal, state and local officials as well as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
BBVA Stadium said it is implementing a number of policy changes and safety enhancements in order to ensure the safest possible experience for its guests.
Those changes and enhancements include:
BBVA STADIUM DIGITAL TICKETS & HEALTH WAIVER
To minimize physical contact between stadium staff and guests, all tickets for upcoming events will be delivered and scanned digitally. As part of the ticket purchase process, fans will also be required to fill out a health waiver. Upon arrival at BBVA Stadium, guests’ tickets will be scanned from their smart phone screen. All guests will need to download the new AXS App in order to receive and scan their tickets.
SOCIALLY-DISTANCED PARKING AT BBVA STADIUM
Fans are encouraged to purchase parking spaces in advance for Lot B and Lot C, located on the north end of the stadium. Parking attendants will be wearing appropriate personal protective equipment and will direct vehicles to park using every other space in order to ensure adequate distance between guests as they exit and enter their vehicles.
ARE MASKS REQUIRED AT BBVA STADIUM?
All individuals will be required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth at all times while on the BBVA Stadium property, unless they are eating or drinking. If a guest arrives without a mask, he or she will be directed to the north end of the stadium where he or she may purchase one from Fanatics, the club’s official merchandise vendor.
DESIGNATED ENTRY GATES
Fans will be instructed which gate to enter based on their seat location in order to ensure they enter at the closest point to their seat. There will be three designated points of entry into BBVA Stadium for fans: the H-Town Gate on the northeast corner, the Memorial Hermann Gate on the northwest corner and the Audi Sport Club on the west side of the building. Guests with seats on the East and South sides of the seating bowl will enter through the H-Town Gate; guests with seats on the West and North sides of the stadium will enter through the Memorial Hermann Gate. The Audi Sport Club entrance is reserved for fans in premium seating areas (Audi Sport Club, President’s Club, Suites).
NOTE: Working Club and Stadium staff, as well as media covering the events, will enter through the Goya Gate on the southeast corner of the stadium.
STAGGERED ENTRY TIMES
Fans will be assigned designated entry times based on their seat location in order to minimize crowding at entry gates. Stadium gates open 90 minutes prior to kickoff, and for the first 30 minutes any fan can enter the stadium through their designated entry gate. Beginning 60 minutes prior to kickoff, guests with seats in Rows H-T will have a 30-minute window during which they will be able to enter. Guests with seats in Rows AA-G of each section will be able to enter beginning 30 minutes prior to kickoff. Fans who miss their designated entry window will also be able to enter the building after kickoff.
EXTENDED ENTRY QUEUES; FLOOR SIGNAGE
In order to allow fans to remain properly distanced while entering the stadium, the entry queues at each of the gates. Signage has also been placed on the sidewalk at each entry location in order to help guests maintain at least six feet of distance while standing in line.
TEMPERATURE CHECKS UPON ENTRY
Each guest will be required to undergo a temperature check with a touchless temporal thermometer prior to entry into the stadium. If a guest has a temperature above the designated threshold of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, he or she will be directed to a cooling station where he or she can rest for a few minutes before being tested again. If a guest has multiple temperature checks above 100.4 degrees, he or she will not be allowed to enter the stadium.
ADDITIONAL HAND SANITIZER STATIONS
BBVA Stadium has installed forty-two (42) hand sanitizer stations throughout the concourse; and portable sanitizer pumps will be placed in high-traffic areas such as entry gates.
UPPER SEATING BOWL ONLY
In order to keep a safe distance between the players and fans, seating will be limited to the upper seating bowl at BBVA Stadium.
Tickets have been grouped into pods of two (2), three (3), four (4), five (5) and six (6) seats. When selecting seats, guests are required to utilize all of the tickets in a pod in order to ensure that only groups of people who know one another are seated next to each other. There will be a maximum of two (2) pods on each row, allowing guests in each pod to enter the section from opposite sides of the section and not have to cross in front of one another within a row.
DESIGNATED ENTRY POINTS
Each fan will receive a designated vomitorium, or staircase, to use in order to access his or her seats. This is done to minimize the instance of fans having to cross directly in front of one another within a seating row to access their seats.
Additional signage will be located throughout the stadium to encourage and promote health and safety measures. Signage will include CDC information on proper hand-washing procedures in all restrooms, along with CDC signage at PPE distribution points to show the proper techniques for putting on and removing PPE.
Floor marker signage will be installed throughout the concourse in order to help guests maintain appropriate distance between one another while waiting in line. Confined spaces such as elevators will also be marked with a reduced capacity in order to allow for proper spacing.
FOOD & BEVERAGE SAFETY ENHANCEMENTS AT BBVA STADIUM
Levy Restaurants, the concessionaire at BBVA Stadium, has instituted a number of safety enhancements within its operations as well. All Levy employees will wear PPE at all times, and will wear gloves when handling food. Gloves will be replaced frequently throughout the event, including before and after handling food. All food products will either be pre-wrapped or served in a hinged box to ensure that the food is covered when being served to guests. All cutlery will be pre-packaged, including in the Audi Sport Club and other premium seating areas, and all condiments will be distributed in individual packets rather than self-serve locations. Additionally, all cups and plates will be single-use and disposable. Self-service fountain drink stations will be removed, and beverage refills will be discontinued for the time being. Fountain drinks and draft beers will be served with a lid, and guests will be given a paper-wrapped straw upon request.
DIGITAL ORDERING & CONTACT-FREE PAYMENTS AT BBVA STADIUM
All concession and merchandise payments will be done contact-free, including vendors selling food and beverages in the concourse and/or in the seating bowl. BBVA Stadium will be a cash-free venue in order to eliminate the need to pass currency between individuals.
IN-SEAT ORDERING AND PURCHASING
In addition to food and beverage vendors selling product in the seating bowl, guests may also order concessions and merchandise from their seats. Fanatics will offer fans the ability to order from their seat via the Dynamo Mobile Team Shop and then pick up their order at a designated location inside the stadium. Levy Restaurants offers in-seat ordering and service via their sEATz app, allowing guests to avoid lines altogether.Each seat in use will have a QR code placed in front of it which will direct fans to a landing page where they can download the Fanatics and Levy apps as well as matchday content and other key information.
INCREASED FREQUENCY OF CLEANING
BBVA Stadium has increased the number of housekeeping staff on-site for upcoming events and will institute an increased schedule of cleanings in all high-traffic areas such as restrooms, concession stands and entry gates. Eight hours prior to the start of each event, all outdoor spaces in use will be cleaned and disinfected; and areas will be cleaned and disinfected once again following each event.