The Columbus Blue Jackets announced today the Ohio Department of Health has approved a request of variance that will allow 1,953 fans, or 10 percent of Nationwide Arena capacity, to attend club home games during the 2020-21 season. Current season ticket holders will receive priority access to single game tickets for games beginning with the March 2nd contest between the Blue Jackets and Detroit Red Wings through a series of "restricted" and "unrestricted" pre-sales starting Tuesday, February 23. The ticket purchasing process, including a public on-sale date, is being finalized and will be shared prior to tickets going on sale.
"The Blue Jackets would like to thank Governor DeWine, the Ohio Department of Health and Columbus Public Health for working with us over the past several weeks on a plan to allow our fans to return to Nationwide Arena," said club President Mike Priest. "We have worked diligently with Columbus Arena Sports & Entertainment, as well as Nationwide Arena staff, to put protocols in place that put the health and safety of our fans, players, coaches, staff and guests at the forefront. The 5th Line is incredibly important to our team. We need them in our building and we will need them to abide by the established protocols to ensure we can continue to be together for the remainder of the 2020-21 season."
Among the protocols that will be implemented for guests attending games at Nationwide Arena are the following:
- Prior to entering Nationwide Arena, all fans must complete an online check-in questionnaire to be cleared for entry.
- Face masks will be required for all guests (ages 2 and over) and must be worn at all times unless actively eating or drinking in your seats. Gaiters, bandanas or masks with vents will NOT be permitted. Masks must fully cover the nose and mouth and fit securely under the chin.
- All seats will be grouped in "seating pods" separated by a minimum distance of 6-feet.
- All tickets will be distributed via digital/mobile means as all paper tickets and season ticket holder pass cards have been eliminated. For more information on mobile ticketing, CLICK HERE.
- All ticketing, concessions and merchandise will be cashless. Purchases can be made with a debit card or credit card. Reverse ATM's (no fee cash to credit exchange) have been installed within the arena.
- Bags are not permitted with exceptions made for medical bags, diaper bags or clutches no larger than 8"x 5"x 1."
- Per NHL guidelines, the first four rows around the rink, as well as a 12-foot safe zone from player benches, Zamboni tunnels and penalty boxes have been removed from available seating for safety purposes.
- There will be no designated smoking areas at Nationwide Arena this season.
- Arena District Parking will limit garages for event parking and all garages will be cashless and require a pre-purchased parking pass.
In addition, the club and Nationwide Arena have taken the following additional steps to provide guests a safe and healthy environment in which to watch the game:
- Nationwide Arena's robust HVAC system is equipped with high-efficiency air filters that remove 99.97% of airborne particles. In addition, 100% outside air circulates throughout the arena resulting in three complete air changes per hour.
- Electrostatic sprayers containing CDC-approved disinfectant spray will be used prior to each event in restrooms, concourses, concession areas, elevators/escalators and all seating areas. All surfaces in the venue are treated with an antimicrobial treatment. Plexiglass barriers reduce contact between fans and staff. Hand sanitizer dispensers are located throughout Nationwide Arena.
- Elevators will be limited to two guests or your ticket pod size (maximum of four guests). Guests with disabilities will have first priority. Staircases are available for most guests.
- Escalator capacity/use should be spread out with no more than two guests every three steps.
- Motion-activated faucets, urinals, and toilets have been installed. Hands-free paper towel, soap and hand sanitizer dispensers are available in every restroom.
- Dedicated venue staff will sanitize touchpoints frequently throughout events.
- Where possible, restrooms will have designated entrances and exits to ensure guests can maintain physical distancing.
- Family restrooms and the nursing room will be open to guests.
- All tickets will list a designated Nationwide Arena entrance to ensure social distancing and congregating in arena concourses and common areas will not be permitted.
For complete information on established health and safety protocols for Blue Jackets games at Nationwide Arena this season, CLICK HERE.