The COVID-19 pandemic will certainly leave a mark on us all for years to come. But with vaccinations underway, we can finally look forward to a return of some normalcy.
Part of that normalcy is the return of fans attending live sporting events. Here in Orlando, AdventHealth’s 30-year partnership with the Orlando Magic continues — and together, we’ve developed special guidelines to allow a limited number of fans into the Amway Center to watch home games once again.
Medical director of Centra Care, Dr. Tim Hendrix, oversees employee health of both AdventHealth employees and the organizations they partner with, including the Orlando Magic.
“Our experts at AdventHealth have been working with the team, working with the organization, and making sure that there's a safety plan in place so the fans, employees and team are all as safe as they can be from COVID-19. Those experts include infectious disease experts, epidemiologists and occupational medicine experts,” Dr. Hendrix said.
COVID-19 Safety Precautions at the Amway Center
The Orlando Magic take the “being safe” part very seriously. And games in the Amway Center this year will reflect that.
"The health and safety of everyone connected to our game will be top priority," says Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins. "Our goal is to make everyone feel comfortable that extensive safety precautions have been taken for the return to Amway Center."
Some of the changes fans can expect this year are:
- Limited capacity (approximately 4,000 fans per game)
- Physically distanced seating
- Face coverings required
- Pre-arrival symptom and exposure survey
- Testing for those in close proximity to the court
- Constant deep cleaning in high-traffic areas
- Hand sanitizing stations throughout the arena
- No bag policy
The building itself has also undergone some COVID-19 specific upgrades. The air handling and dehumidification units have been outfitted with UV lighting and specialized air filters for the inactivation of bacterial organisms. The UV technology is also used on the escalator handrails to sanitize them on each rotation.
PlexiGuard barriers have been put in place and air circulation has been increased, as well. The Amway Center is also in the process of receiving certification from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council for STAR Facility Accreditation, the gold standard among venues for cleaning, disinfecting and infectious disease prevention. They are also moving towards a cashless environment to reduce potential infection through currency. To go one step further, all food and drink will be individually wrapped, including utensils and disposable plates. All staff members are screened for symptoms daily before work as well.
Taking Charge of Your Own Health
Even with all the policies and preventative measures in place, Dr. Hendrix says staying aware, disciplined, and listening to medical experts is necessary to avoid getting sick. “The CDC guidelines are based on good science. And I've watched the CDC guidelines evolve over the last nine months from the beginning of the pandemic. As we get more information about transmission, about the infection, those guidelines shift and change. And that is what we base our policies at AdventHealth on for our own hospital employees to keep our patients away from COVID-19,” Dr. Hendrix said.
Dr. Hendrix also reiterated what to watch for in your own household: “The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are a fever, a cough, sore throat, body aches and headache, all flu-like symptoms. Another very distinctive feature of COVID-19 is a lack of smell or taste. And I've heard this so many times where people just wake up and they can't taste anything. They can't smell their coffee in the morning. So if that happens or if you have any symptoms, don't report to work. Call out and go get tested. Get seen by a health care provider.”
Hard Work and Hope on the Horizon
Dr. Hendrix knows there’s still work ahead of us: “We're in winter and as expected, we will see more people coming in with COVID-19. The good news is, we have an approved vaccine that we’re using to vaccinate some of the most vulnerable populations. We’re very much looking forward to a time when there will be enough supply to vaccinate everyone. When that day comes, we hope everyone in the community will get vaccinated and help to slow the spread.”
Much like the Orlando Magic, our community is a team working together. We’re here for you at every stage of the pandemic and recovery. For more on our coronavirus precautions, visit our Coronavirus Resource Hub. To learn more about the AdventHealth and Magic partnership, click here.