Sports fans have had to spend the last year sitting on couches and armchairs watching games from a distance, cheering with their family, or small groups of friends, but not truly getting immersed like what a stadium or arena offers. Nothing beats the thrill of watching your team win or lose with thousands of other peoples, absorbing that energy into you and blasting it out in cheers and yells. Last year saw the shut down of most stadiums and arenas to cheering fans, and early 2021 has not opened them up yet. However, as vaccines start to get distributed, and the spread eventually lessens, commercial stadiums and arenas will need an opening plan on how to disinfect. Even if venues decided to cut capacity in half, or to a quarter, there are still so many surfaces to disinfect after or during an event, from seating and handrails, to bathrooms.
Cleaning and disinfecting happened in the past at sports venues, but not in a way that would be effective against pandemics such as COVID-19, which means a new approach must be taken to ensure the safety of the public, staff at the venue, and the players themselves. So, what can commercial stadiums and arenas operators do in these trying times to be able to open up their venues without putting the public at risk of exposure?
Avoiding False Claims and “Miracle Products”
Anyone who has seen any TV ads and internet ads in the last year, especially starting around March of 2020 knows that there was a huge influx of ads that included miracle products that were touted as being the best of the best at getting rid of the COVID-19 virus. These claims for many products were dubious at best, and downright criminal and immoral in other cases where it led the public into false senses of security with shoddy products that ended up doing nothing. The CDC quickly updated and advertised their approved list of disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19, and continuously update the list as new products get approved. So, when sports venue operators look to their plans for reopening and dealing with cleaning and disinfecting their stadiums and arenas, the first thing they need to do is secure a supply of CDC approved disinfectants that will be effective at minimizing the exposure risk of COVID-19 to the public. In a pinch, they can use homemade mixtures, such a bleach in water (⅓ cup bleach per gallon of room temperature water), but with the large area that needs to be covered, basic bleach disinfection methods are likely to take far too long to deploy.
Take Advantage of New Technologies for Large Area Cleaning
Walking around and wiping down every surface in a large structure such as a commercial stadium or arena would be a ridiculous method for disinfection; it would take a long time, take far too many people, and would be highly inefficient. That means, stadium operators need to upgrade their cleaning and sanitation methods, which could often mean bringing in outside help from professionals that have years of experience in widespread disinfecting. When trying to cover a large area for disinfecting, sprays are a common method, but these can go beyond electric powered spray guns that cover large swaths of areas quickly. Newer methods are available that can get sprays into harder to reach areas when disinfecting a stadium, such as electrostatic sprays, and micro-mist technology. With a full gamut of tools and technologies at hand, disinfecting can become much more manageable for such large areas.
Increased Janitorial Presence
Disinfecting between events at commercial stadiums and arenas is important, but it is also crucial that the facilities be cleaned and sanitized during events, not only for stemming the exposure risk and spread of COVID-19, but also to give the people peace of mind that the facility is taking the risk seriously. Before opening up the public, venue operators will have to take a serious look at the janitorial staff, and provide adequate training, PPE, disinfectants and numbers to ensure they can cover the whole of the stadium and arena during an event, wiping down, or safely spraying high-touch areas frequently to minimize exposure risks.
Investing in Signage to Remind the People
While most people have experienced the hygienic changes needed in public during the COVID-19 pandemic, it never hurts to keep reminding them to be vigilant. Increased signage has been shown to improve the likelihood of people following social distancing and good hygiene practices, so operators of commercial stadiums and arenas should start looking through their facility and planning on the best locations to ramp up signage for pandemic related protocols. This has an added effect of showing the public that the stadium or arena has a plan in place, and is aware of the health risks of the pandemic and doing all it can to ensure the safety of the players, staff, and general spectator public.
The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a huge blow to spectators sports when it comes to manning the stands of commercial stadiums and arenas, but as the pandemic starts to wind down and vaccines get distributed, the loyal fans will be ready to head back out to watch their favorite team in person. Operators of the venues need to be ready with comprehensive plans in place to stem the spread of COVID-19 and minimize exposure.
Alliance Environmental has experience in large-scale commercial are disinfecting. Click here to learn more.