The Browns on Wednesday, in a letter to season-ticket members, laid out their detailed plan to implement comprehensive health and safety protocols and processes at FirstEnergy Stadium in the event fans are permitted for games this season.
The FirstEnergy Stadium Responsible Restart Plan includes a number of significant changes to gameday operations, including the requirement of facial coverings, a quadrant system that separates fans into specific zones with a dedicated gate based on their seating location, recommended time windows for entry, pre-game health screenings and ticket distribution in “pods of known fans” for the reduced capacity of fans that will be at the stadium if approved.
The Browns recently presented the plan to the City of Cleveland and State of Ohio, as well as their respective health departments, and are awaiting a final decision from government officials as to whether they’ll be allowed to welcome fans at FirstEnergy Stadium for their Sept. 17 home opener against the Bengals or for any other games throughout the season. Although the Browns have unveiled their FirstEnergy Stadium Responsible Restart Plan, the team remains uncertain if or when it may be able to host fans at games, including the home opener against the Bengals.
“The ‘FirstEnergy Stadium Responsible Restart Plan’ is the result of a tremendous amount of time and resources that our entire team has spent over the past four months to develop a comprehensive stadium plan that prioritizes health and safety while allowing a reduced capacity of fans to return to our stadium for Browns games this fall,” said Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Dave Jenkins. “Our plan is founded upon the guidance and recommendations of city and state officials, the CDC, local and state health departments, University Hospitals’ medical experts, industry-leading venue consultants and the NFL, with the goal of creating as safe an environment as possible for our players, coaches, staff and fans. We are confident in this plan and our ability to execute these best practices and protocols at FirstEnergy Stadium while remaining flexible and making adjustments as necessary to respond to the ever-evolving circumstances surrounding COVID-19.
“Moving forward is reliant on government approvals, and we understand and respect that process. If we can secure the necessary approvals, we look forward to hosting a limited amount of fans at Browns games this year so that those who want to attend can experience the 2020 season. As is the case every year, the health and safety of everyone in our building is paramount, and we are prepared to execute our plan with that priority in mind.
“Given we are less than a month away from our first home game, we felt it was important for us to share these stadium operations elements with our fans now so they are informed and ready to adhere to all of the new policies and processes in place on gamedays, if we are ultimately approved to host fans.”
The overarching goal of the Responsible Restart Plan is to enable a limited capacity of fans to return to FirstEnergy Stadium while also prioritizing the health and safety of everyone, including players, coaches, fans, gameday staff, and others involved in the gameday experience. The foundation of the plan is guided by the following seven principles:
- Physical separation of at least six feet of social distancing
- Requirement of masks or other face coverings [TT1] for all individuals (age 10+)
- Health screening, including via a Fan Health Promise that requires pre-event self-health screenings for all fans, and on-site temperature checks and health questionnaires for all staff
- Enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols throughout the venue
- Comprehensive hygiene protocols for all fans and staff
- Extensive training, signage and communication
- Accountability, flexibility and compliance protocols to provide oversight and adapt to evolving circumstances
Season-ticket members who have not opted out for the 2020 season will soon receive information regarding how to acquire tickets. If fans are approved for games this season, eligible season-ticket members will have access to tickets on a rolling basis in “waves” based on tenure and Private Seat License status, and will be assigned a designated window of time during which tickets can be purchased on first-come, first-serve basis.
Tickets will be available in “pods of known fans,” which are considered to be trusted, self-selected groups ranging from 1-10 people (final numbers subject to government approval), who will be able to sit next to each other in their pod. No pods will be within six feet of each other.
FirstEnergy Stadium will be divided into four separate color quadrants to minimize movement within the venue and contact with other individuals. Fans will be assigned a specific zone and entrance gate, based on the location of their tickets, as well as a recommended entrance window for when they should plan to arrive. They will be required to agree to a “Fan Health Promise”, including a pre-game self-health screening and self temperature check. The same will be required for all Browns staff members and vendors on-site at FirstEnergy Stadium.
The letter below provides full details on the FirstEnergy Responsible Restart Plan.