Sports Are Heating Up Again: Don’t Let a Viral Outbreak Cool Down the Crowds

Sports Are Heating Up Again: Don’t Let a Viral Outbreak Cool Down the Crowds

By Tricia O'Connor

What do the New England Patriots, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and Italian soccer juggernaut Juventus F.C. have in common?

These professional sports teams have all had at least one notable athlete test positive for COVID-19. (Can you name the athletes? The answers are at the end of the blog post.)

They are also some of the most popular teams in the world, with massive, energetic fan bases.

So how can sports venues – from massive stadiums to regional multiuse recreational centers – welcome in athletes, fans, and visitors safely as the pandemic rages on? Here are four safety and health measures venues can optimize.

What Works and What Doesn’t

Recently, the NBA allowed limited family members to sit courtside during playoffs, but only after following strict quarantine and testing protocols. The NHL took a similarly cautious approach during its playoffs in Canada.

These were certainly more successful methods than other leagues (ahem, college football), but strict bubble restrictions are not applicable in everyday life for key communities including facility workers, vendors, and fans.

Protecting crowds goes beyond social distancing measures and face mask requirements. Many facilities are taking additional steps to mitigate potential virus risks before an unknowingly infected person enters the venue. Facility operators are leveraging the use of smart solutions to create a complete program that protects the wellbeing of key communities. Using these programs, they can address health risks prior to people arriving on-site and improve key safety protocols once inside the sports facility.

Having this comprehensive insight requires integrated systems that can quickly help administrators and health officials identify when and where to act. To ensure peoples’ safety within sports facilities, a smart solution should include:

1. Mobile Safety App

A health and safety app for mobile devices can corral basic but important information about fans, athletes, and employees before they enter a facility. For instance, an app that an employee or fan installs on their phone can enable them to fill out a CDC questionnaire about their symptoms and even self-report their temperature. If the questionnaire spots an issue, the person will be instructed to stay home and set up a medical appointment. At the same time, an HR administrator or facility manager can be notified immediately of the potential risk.

2. Entrance Scanning

Before vendors, facility personnel, and fans enter a venue, they can be issued a QR code for thermal temperature scanning. These scanners can detect symptoms and ensure everyone entering the space is complying with mask requirements before being admitted. This is important as it reduces risks associated with manual temperature checks.   

3. Distance Monitoring & Contact Tracing

While managers may rely on security cameras and spot checks to ensure mask wearing and proper social distancing are being adhered to, distance monitoring and contact tracing enables facility management to detect potential and existing risks more effectively and quickly reduces the likelihood of exposing other employees, fans, and athletes. Distance monitoring not only informs management who may be at risk based on location, but identifies the exact location and duration of any exposures. This location alignment assists leadership in contacting those at risk and carrying out proper sanitation measures.

Wearable devices continually track employees’ movements, recording the distance and duration of interactions – and alert individuals in real-time when they are at increased risk.

4. Analytics Dashboard

A dashboard can help facility managers track pandemic-related activity across all its locations. This is especially helpful for event management companies or municipalities who operate multiple recreational use facilities.

The dashboard can analyze data and issue text and email notifications based on real-time information. This can be critical for early identification of outbreaks. Furthermore, the venue can guarantee social distancing compliance and traffic density, and subsequently change behavior and space configurations of employees to promote workplace safety.

Stay Safe. Stay Open.

By implementing processes that assist workers, vendors, and fans to understand their potential symptoms before they are on-site, managers can better mitigate the spread of communicable viruses at their sports venues.

EBI Workplace Health & Safety is a secure U.S. cloud-based, customizable platform providing modular options for retailers and all organizations to protect their people and their livelihoods. The platform serves as a central data repository and analytics engine for data collected through employee mobile health apps, thermal scanners, and contact tracing systems. These analytics give employers the insights they need to make critical business decisions to keep workplaces open and operational. Most importantly, these products give employees the confidence they need to safely return to work. 

A coordinated technological health and safety umbrella like EBI Workplace Health & Safety can help all of us get back to working – and cheering on the sidelines – confidently and safely.

Schedule a demo or reach out to one of our EBI Experts.

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Answers: Patriots’ QB Cam Newton, Dodgers’ 3B Justin Turner, and billion-dollar-earning player Cristiano Ronaldo

About the Author

Tricia O'Connor

Tricia O'Connor

Writer. Digital marketer. Storyteller. An award-winning writer and editor, Tricia O'Connor is the Marketing Content Manager at EBI. Tricia worked as a broadcast and print journalist for nearly two decades writing and producing programming for high-profile networks like ESPN Radio, History Channel, and Hallmark Channel, as well as contributing editorial work to publications nationwide. Tricia joined the EBI marketing team in 2019 and is responsible for content strategy, development, and engagement. Tricia earned a master's degree in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and is a proud undergraduate alumna of Wheaton College in Massachusetts.

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