Less than 20 percent of the Alamodome’s 72,000 seats will be filled Tuesday night at the Valero Alamo Bowl as part of the stadium’s COVID measures for what is expected to be its biggest football game since the pandemic began.
“We’re comfortable with these precautions,” the president and CEO of the Valero Alamo Bowl, Derrick Fox, said at a press conference on Monday.
Officials from the stadium and the bowl game, pitting the Texas Longhorns against the Colorado Buffaloes, touted a number of new precautions funded through more than $1 million from the City’s share of federal coronavirus relief money.
Mayor Ron Nirenberg addressed safety questions surrounding the event at Monday night’s COVID-19 briefing.
“The crowd will be wearing masks, and the spacing is set up to ensure there’s no physical interaction with people. It’s a highly regulated … environment, and for those who don’t comply with that, they’re going to be removed,” Nirenberg said.
The new measures include a contactless system for parking validation, as well as an entrance system that asks attendees to enter through an assigned gate, as indicated on their ticket.
For concessions, a new mobile app allows attendees to remotely order food and beverages to be picked up from set stations, though a traditional in-person concession counter is also still available.
Before entering, ticket holders will be subject to a temperature check at the door. Those who have a temperature above 99.6 degrees will be led to a separate area for a second screening, where another fever reading will send the person and their entire party home with a refund.
Signage throughout the facilities reminds attendees to wear masks, practice social distancing, and wash their hands. Attendees also will be reminded of the stadium’s mask requirement by staffers and even the stadium’s Jumbotrons.
“The plan requires everyone to do their part,” said Patricia Muzquiz Cantor, director of the City’s Convention & Sports Facilities Department.
Cantor said no outbreaks had been linked to previous events at the Alamodome, which has hosted six UTSA football games since the pandemic began.
The mask mandate makes an exception for attendees who are “actively” eating or drinking, the Alamodome’s general manager Stephen Zito said
“It’s really simple,” Zito said. “Pull it down, take a sip, then pull it back up.”
Ticket holders who do not comply with the mask mandate will be reminded twice, with the second warning coming from compliance officers. “Depending on how they respond,” Zito said, these ticket holders risk being given a citation and ejected without a refund.
“We would not have any hesitation about that,” Zito said, who confirmed that they have done so at past Alamodome events this year.
Nirenberg said, “What I would recommend is that, if someone is wanting to go to the Alamo Bowl, that they are ready to comply with the health guidance. And if they aren’t, they should watch it on TV.”
During the press conference, a custodian was spotted pushing a cart with her face mask pulled down.