DORAL, FL – Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens will open its doors to a limited capacity of 13,000 football fans for Miami Hurricanes and Miami Dolphins games.
Games will take place on Thursday, September 10, with Miami Hurricanes’ home game against the UAB Blazers, and Miami Dolphins’ home opener against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday, September 20.
About the announcement, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recognized during a news conference on Monday the hard work of Miami Dolphins and the staff at Hard Rock Stadium in getting the stadium ready for the college and NFL football seasons.
“There’s been a lot of stress and angst over these last many months. It’s been a difficult time for a lot of people… Having something to look forward to does give people a bit of hope,” said the Governor, as reported by WPTV West Palm Beach.
To avoid the spread of COVID-19, some measures have been taken such as consulting with experts on sanitation and cleaning, changing the stadium’s filtration system to remove more germs from the air, and creating a mobile ordering system to cut down on lines.
Also, social distancing will be enforced as established by Tom Garfinkel, the vice chairman, president, and CEO of the Dolphins, who explained seating will be arranged in pods of two, four and six seats, with a distance of at least 6 feet between each pod.
And there will be some restrictions. Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens will not allow tailgating or the lack of a face covering while inside the stadium. In addition, alcohol sales will stop after halftime.
“Everything we can do to create the most safe environment possible,” Garfinkel said as quoted by WPTV. “If you are someone that doesn’t want to wear a mask, this isn’t the place for you this year. Don’t buy a ticket. Don’t come.”
For now, these are the only games in which fans will be permitted as a try out to see if further games may or may not include fans.
“After that, we’ll take a look and see where the numbers are. If they get a lot worse, it’s very conceivable we could have a situation later in the year where we don’t have fans at a game,” Garfinkel said. “If they get markedly better, it’s possible we could move to half capacity.”