The Union will become the first sports team in the Philadelphia area to host fans at a game during the coronavirus pandemic when they open the gates of Subaru Park for Sunday’s 7:30 p.m. game against the Montreal Impact.
Pennsylvania’s new allowance for fans to attend sports games in the state permits venues with capacities above 10,000 to fill 15% of occupancy, up to 7,500 people total. At 18,500-seat Subaru Park, that means a total of 2,775 people, including both teams and all stadium staff.
All seats available are spaced out so there’s six feet of distance between any purchased set. A diagram on the Union’s website of a sample section showed 49 seats available for purchase, divided into groups of two, three or four. Multiplied by the 40 sections in Subaru Park’s seating bowl, that would mean an estimated crowd of 1,960 fans.
The first eight rows of seats in each section will be blocked off, and all rows with available seats have a maximum of two blocks open. That means fans won’t have to cross each other’s paths in rows.
Union season-ticket holders will have first priority on purchasing tickets. If any seats are still available after the sale to season-ticket holders, they will go on sale to the general public. Fans will be able to choose seats from those that are open, and probably won’t be in the seats they normally use.
Tickets only will be distributed electronically via email, and the team indicated that they should be displayed on mobile phones upon arrival at the stadium.
Fans will have to sign a waiver of liability upon purchasing their tickets. If you don’t sign, you won’t be allowed in.
Wearing a mask will be required at all times except when “actively eating or drinking,” the Union’s statement says. Violators “will be asked to leave the stadium.” The statement had no further details about potential punishments.
At the gates, each fan entering will walk through a metal detector and be subject to a temperature check. If a reading is above 100.4 degrees you will be escorted to a designated space to wait and see if your temperature cools. If it does not, you and your entire party will be kept out of the stadium and will get a credit or refund for your tickets.
There will be specific entry points into the seating bowl with one-way access. The team suggests that fans in higher rows of the stands enter the stadium 60 minutes before kickoff and fans in lower rows enter 30 minutes before kickoff.
Throughout the game, you will be limited to the half of the stadium your seat is in, and each ticket will indicate the time at which you should enter the stadium. The stadium’s club areas will be closed.
There will be hand sanitizer stations throughout the stadium, including at gates and restrooms. The team encouraged fans to use them “regularly” while in attendance, along with washing hands with soap and water. Each restroom will have specified lines to keep fans distanced.
Some concession stands will be open. All will be cashless. If you want to buy alcohol, you will have to buy food with it. The team store will be open, too, with a limit of 10 fans at a time.
If you want to bring a bag into the stadium, it will have to be see-through and no larger than 14 inches by 14 inches by 6 inches, so that security staff will touch it as little as possible.
Parking must be purchased in advance with game tickets, and will not be sold on site. Your parking place will be assigned based on which side of the stadium you enter. Parking passes bought with this year’s season tickets will not be accepted, and tailgating will not be allowed.
The team will not run its free shuttle bus service from SEPTA’s Chester Transportation Center regional rail station, though it wouldn’t be of much use anyway. Under SEPTA’s current schedule, the last train to Center City on Sunday night leaves Chester at 9:36 p.m., too close to when the game ends.
When the game is over, the Union will enforce staggered exits from the stands by section. Fans must stay in their seats until their section is called over the public address system, with two sections called at a time.