The Miami Dolphins are preparing for the fall as though there is definitively going to be a 2020 season. Those preparations included an unveiling on Monday morning of changes to Hard Rock Stadium — the Dolphins’ home stadium — that will help fans abide by the coronavirus social distancing guidelines.
Adam Schefter was among the first to report on the unveiling, tweeting about an appearance by Dolphins’ CEO and president Tom Garfinkel on Good Morning America. During that interview, Garfinkel showed off the way the team is going to change up the entrances to Hard Rock Stadium to better keep people separated as they attend a game.
At the entrances, the Dolphins would place markers to show fans how to stay six feet apart, as the coronavirus social distancing guidelines have laid out. Garfinkel said the team would also stagger gate entrances and exits in an attempt to stop the clogging of entryways that can occur before and after games. The CEO also said the franchise is looking at projections that would have the stadium hold far fewer fans than its maximum capacity.
There would be planned exit strategies as well, meant to try and keep a crush of people from leaving their seats at the same time.
“We would have times to come in for security at different gates so people would be separated out in terms of when they enter the stadium,” Garfinkel said, according to ESPN. “We would exit the stadium much like a church environment where each row exits so people aren’t filing out all at the same time in a herd.”
The Dolphins are also planning on what it will be like once the fans get into the stadium and settle in to watch the game. Garfinkel told GMA part of the plan includes having any fan in the stadium wear a mask. Instead of people standing and waiting at concession stands, they would be able to order food from their seats and then go pick it up when it was ready.
One issue that wasn’t directly addressed by the Dolphins‘ front office was just how many seats they were looking to remove to reduce capacity. There is also the issue of how exactly they would enforce people not sitting closer than six feet away from one another. Analysts have pointed out spacing seats out — without removing them entirely — would be hard to police when a group of friends wants to go see a game together.