Cover, Football, Sports

UM to allow 13,000 fans at Hard Rock Stadium for football home opener

Canes football fans throw up the U and cheer during the University of Miami’s game versus the University of Virginia on October 11th, 2019 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL.

Canes football fans throw up the U and cheer during the University of Miami’s game versus the University of Virginia on October 11th, 2019 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, FL. Photo credit: Jared Lennon

UM Athletics announced the plan for stadium attendance at Hard Rock Stadium for Miami Hurricane football games this fall. A maximum of 13,000 fans will be allowed to attend the home opener on Thursday, September 10 against UAB.

This announcement came just a few hours after Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the Miami Dolphins announced that Hard Rock Stadium can host as many as 13,000 fans for Miami Dolphins and Hurricanes games for the upcoming 2020 season. This comes as the number of new COVID-19 cases in South Florida declines and safety measures at the Miami Gardens venue continue to take shape.

“When we started the process back in March of exploring what a socially-distanced stadium could look like, we made the health and safety of everyone the first priority; knowing that if we felt that we couldn’t make it safe, we simply wouldn’t have fans,” said Miami Dolphins Vice Chairman and CEO Tom Garfinkel in a statement.

The facility can hold 65,326 fans when at 100% capacity. Even with just under a quarter of seats occupied on weekends, tailgating will not be permitted at Dolphins or Hurricanes games.

Hard Rock Stadium underwent an accreditation process by the Global Biorisk Advisory Council and earned star facility accreditation in July thanks to a blueprint that includes “cleaning, disinfection, and infection prevention strategies.” The Dolphins and Canes’ stadium is the first NFL facility to earn such accolades.

According to UM, season ticket holders will have first priority to participate in an individual game on-sale. Separate communication will be sent to UM students regarding attendance.

Earlier this summer, Miami athletic director Blake James was skeptical about allowing fans in the stadium.

“I am of the mindset that there is a very good chance we will not have fans,’’ UM Athletic Director Blake James said in an interview with the Miami Herald last week. “I am hoping we will be able to have fans. That’s something that’s up to Miami-Dade County, the government leadership, and whatever decision they make I’ll be 100 percent supportive of.”

UM released policies for the 2020 football season include:

· GBAC Star certification

· Socially distanced seating clusters

· All fans and stadium employees will be required to wear a mask when not actively eating or drinking

· Upgrading Air Conditioning filters from Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 10 to MERV 14 (Hospital Grade)

· Mobile touchless entry with more points of entries and exits to help avoid bottlenecks at ingress/egress

· Staggered gate entry with entry times listed on game tickets

· Cashless experience for food service, parking and retail

· New walk through metal detectors with touchless security screening to allow fans to keep all items in their pockets for faster entry

· 1 metal detector for every 104 fans vs 1 metal detector for every 394 fans in 2019

· Changing from manual to contactless toilets and faucets

· No smoking inside the stadium or helixes

· No tailgating for 2020 season with parking lots open two hours before kickoff instead of four hours

August 24, 2020

Reporters

Austin Pert


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