Browns proposed plan for fans at FirstEnergy Stadium: Tickets in pods, stadium in quadrants, masks and no tailgating

Noble Horvath

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A little over a week ago, Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said they hoped to have fans at FirstEnergy Stadium this season and cited about 20% capacity as a possibility. Today, the team is unveiling its FirstEnergy Stadium Restart plan in an email to season ticket […]

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A little over a week ago, Browns owners Dee and Jimmy Haslam said they hoped to have fans at FirstEnergy Stadium this season and cited about 20% capacity as a possibility.

Today, the team is unveiling its FirstEnergy Stadium Restart plan in an email to season ticket members.

Although the plan is announced today, the team remains uncertain if and when it can host fans at games, including the home opener against Cincinnati on Sept. 17. The plan still needs approval from the office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.

“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,” Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Dave Jenkins said in a statement from the team. “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 already know tailgating won’t be allowed by the city, but the Browns are hopeful the plan they’ve come up with will allow at least a small number of their fans to see the game in person.

“Moving forward is reliant on government approvals, and we understand and respect that process,” Jenkins said. “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.”

Here are the key points from an email the Browns will send to season ticket holders on Wednesday.

To read the entire plan in its entirety, scroll to the bottom of the post.

Tickets

* Tickets, which will be mobile, will be sold in “pods of known fans,” groups of one to 10 people who will be able to sit next to each other. Pods should consist of family members or other individuals who are closely familiar with each other, including each person’s daily habits.

* Tickets will be assigned to specific seats and assigned so no pods will be closer than six feet from each other.

* Each ticket will come with an assigned gate and a recommended entrance time. Fans will leave through the gate they entered.

Before the game

* A pregame self-health screening, called the “Fan Health Promise,” will be required, including a temperature check and a questionnaire before fans can access their tickets.

* Staff will undergo on-site temperature checks and fill out a health questionnaire.

* Tailgating is prohibited by the city throughout downtown. The City of Cleveland Prosecutor’s Office will have an on-site gameday presence to help enforce and address any health and safety violations.

* Most parking passes will be distributed via mobile devices.

At the game

* The stadium will be separated into four color-coded quadrants. Fans and staff will be required to stay in their designated quadrant throughout the game and to remain in their designated seat unless they are headed to the concourse.

* Facial coverings are required for fans and staff aged 10 and up in all areas, including when seated in the bowl except when actively eating or drinking. Staff members will also be required to wear additional Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as appropriate.

* Entrances and security checkpoints will be at least six feet apart and there will be signs to direct traffic flow. Elevators will have a maximum capacity relative to their size.

* The stadium will transition to a cashless venue for fan convenience and health and safety purposes and the team is exploring enhancements to the Browns Mobile App to potentially allow fans to pre-order concessions on their phones while in their seats.

* Aramark is implementing a number of other food service health and safety best practices, including robust cleaning protocols, the installation of Plexiglas dividers and line-management procedures to accommodate social distancing.

Other things you should know

* Specific information regarding how to acquire tickets will be provided soon to season ticket members who have not opted out of the 2020 season.

* All season ticket members continue to have the opportunity to opt out of the 2020 season and receive a credit for future games or a refund without any negative impact on STM status (and, if applicable, PSL status).

*****

Read the entire proposed plan as emailed to season ticket holders:

FirstEnergy Stadium Responsible Restart Plan overview

  • Overall capacity will be significantly limited this season to comply with government and NFL requirements. The official stadium capacity of each game will be determined based on final ticket distribution patterns (specifically the size of trusted seating pods, further described below) and the overall ticket manifest.
  • FirstEnergy Stadium will be divided into four separate color-coded quadrants to minimize movement within the venue and contact with other individuals. Each area will be identified by entrance gate – University Hospitals Zone (red), Meijer Zone (blue), Fifth Third Bank Zone (green) and Cree Lighting Zone (yellow). Fans and staff will remain in their designated quarter of the stadium for the entirety of the game from ingress to egress. The team has worked to ensure comparable fan accommodations are available within each zone, including concessions, restrooms, retail and other amenities.
  • Facial coverings will be required for all fans and staff (age 10+) in all areas, including the seating bowl, except when actively eating or drinking. Staff members will also be required to wear Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as appropriate (e.g., gloves for food service staff).
  • A significant number of sanitation stations will be installed and readily available to all fans and staff throughout FirstEnergy Stadium.

TICKETING

  • Each ticket will be assigned a specific gate and recommended entrance time, based on the location of the seat and applicable zone. The designated gate and entrance window will be displayed on each fan’s mobile ticket.
  • Tickets will be available only in “pods of known fans,” 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. These pods should consist of family members and/or other individuals who are closely familiar with each other, including each person’s daily habits to help reduce the transmission of COVID-19.
  • Each ticket will be assigned to a specific seat, and seating will be assigned so that no pods are within six feet of one another. Fans will be required to remain in their designated seats to maintain pod integrity and ensure separation from other groups, unless headed to the concourse to purchase concessions or team merchandise or use the restroom.
  • Seats that are unavailable based on the manifest will be physically blocked off to ensure compliance with distancing requirements.
  • All Browns tickets will be mobile again in 2020, for both fan convenience and health and safety (minimizing contact) reasons.
  • Specific information regarding how to acquire tickets (including the package of potential games that may be offered) will be provided soon to Season Ticket Members (STMs) who have not opted out of the 2020 season. If fans are approved for games this season, eligible STMs will have access to tickets on a rolling basis in “waves” based on tenure and PSL status, and will be assigned a designated window of time during which tickets can be purchased on a first-come, first-serve basis. We anticipate that all STMs who have not opted out will have access to a reduced number of games this season, pending appropriate approvals.
  • If you are interested in purchasing tickets to 2020 games, please monitor your email closely as we will be sharing more information on this process soon.
  • Please note that while we have made significant progress towards having a limited number of fans at the stadium this year, we remain unable to guarantee that any fan will receive tickets to a specific number of games or opponent(s) or for particular seat locations for the 2020 season.
  • All STMs continue to have the opportunity to opt out of the 2020 season and receive a credit for future games or a refund without any negative impact on STM status (and, if applicable, PSL status).

PRE-GAMEDAY

  • Prior to the start of the season, the NFL and the Browns will make “Know Before You Go” resources available online and via direct email that outline health and safety best practices and fan protocols for responsibly attending the game.
  • We will continue to regularly communicate with season ticket members and all individuals who have obtained tickets to games throughout the year.
  • Through the “Fan Health Promise” pregame communications, fans must self-conduct a COVID-19 Prescreening, including a temperature check and questions related to COVID-19 symptoms and potential exposure. Fans will be required to agree to the “Fan Health Promise” prior to receiving access to their tickets.
  • All Browns staff members and vendors at FirstEnergy Stadium will also be required to complete mandatory health screenings, as well as temperature checks upon arrival at the stadium.
  • For the health and safety of all, any fan experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who may have been exposed to the virus should stay home.

ADDITIONAL GAMEDAY NOTES

  • Prominent signage reminding fans to wear masks, wash their hands and practice social distancing, as well as signage reinforcing capacity limitations, socially-distanced lines and more will be prominently placed in and around the stadium.
  • At stadium entrances, security check-points will be at least six feet apart and have markings indicating where fans should stand to maintain distance while waiting. New wayfinding signs will direct traffic flow and guest services members will direct fans to their seats to minimize unnecessary contact with others. Lines for escalators and elevators will be socially-distanced, and elevators will have a maximum capacity relative to their size.
  • We have implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting protocols for all gameday areas and equipment throughout the venue and comprehensive hygiene practices will be required of staff and strongly recommended to fans.
  • As described above, all fans will exit the building through the gate they entered, based on their assigned zone. Fans will be reminded frequently to practice social distancing and adhere to the face mask or covering requirement before, during and after the game, including egress.
  • Per NFL policies, the team has extensive protocols in place for fans who may be experiencing symptoms while at the stadium, including two dedicated isolation areas – one for fans and one for staff – and corresponding health and safety exit procedures.
  • During the 2020 season, FirstEnergy Stadium will transition to a cashless venue for fan convenience and health and safety purposes. Cash-to-card kiosks will be made available for fans who prefer not to use their own credit card or who typically rely on cash as their preferred payment method.
  • The team is currently exploring enhancements to the Browns Mobile App to potentially allow fans to pre-order concessions on their phones while in their seats. Additionally, individually-wrapped/sealed food and beverage offerings, as well as single-serve condiment packages, will be available to fans. Aramark is also implementing a number of other food service health and safety best practices, including robust cleaning protocols, the installation of Plexiglas dividers and line-management procedures to accommodate social distancing.
  • New in 2020, most Browns parking passes will be distributed via mobile devices to increase convenience while also eliminating the need to exchange physical materials with staff when entering the lots.
  • Tailgating will be prohibited throughout downtown by the City of Cleveland.
  • The City of Cleveland Prosecutor’s Office will have an on-site gameday presence to help enforce and address any health and safety violations.
Browns Mask Affiliate Promo 2020

New Browns face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Browns-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection for adults and youth, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). All NFL proceeds donated to CDC Foundation.

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