The Saints have formally requested that Mayor Latoya Cantrell and her office allow the team to host fans at its next home game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 12 after successfully having 750 guests at Sunday’s home game with no known cases of COVID-19 appearing afterward.
The team has received approval from Governor John Bel Edwards to begin hosting fans at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with a limited capacity of around 25 percent. A letter went out to season-ticket holders on Friday, spelling out the process for selecting fans to attend the game if the team receives approval.
The NFL and commissioner Roger Goodell have also requested that Cantrell and her office allow New Orleans to open the stadium to guests. Consequently, Lafayette Mayor-President Josh Guillory has extended an invitation to host Saints home games with fans in the stands.
The Saints, the NFL, Ochsner, ASM Global, other health and safety experts, the CDC and local and state governments have created a plan to reactivate the building called VenueShield. The plan has been called one of the most comprehensive and can adapt to numerous seating capacities based on local and state government guidance.
VenueShield plan was designed to assume that some fans may attend the game who are unknowingly COVID-19 positive despite temperature checks and other screenings. The policies, procedures, and protocols are designed to keep these individuals from spreading the virus to other groups of fans. These policies and procedures have successfully prevented such a spread in areas with much higher rates of infection and even lower standards of event screenings.
Along with cleaning the stadium after each use, the plan goes so far as to clean and disinfect the stadium turf four times per season. Between the deep cleanings, the field is treated with germicidal UVC to destroy germs.
Similar plans have gotten deployed in sporting events open to the public for over a month, including the NFL, college football, NASCAR and now Major League Baseball. There is no evidence that any of these events have led to increased positivity within the state or region in which they were held.
During initial discussions with the mayor and governor, the goal was to have positive cases below 5 percent of the New Orleans population. The city is currently at 1.5 percent. While there are concerns about people from other parishes attending games, the state as a whole is under 4 percent positivity.
Division opponents in Florida (11 percent), North Carolina (8 percent) and Georgia (6 percent) have higher positivity rates and are hosting fans.
The Superdome employs hundreds of people on game days who are currently out of work.
Here is the letter sent to fans:
Dear Season Ticket Holder,
Following our successful test of our VenueShield health and safety plan last weekend, we formally requested that Mayor Cantrell’s office join Governor Edwards in approving our hosting fans with a limited capacity of approximately 25% beginning with our next home game against the L.A. Chargers on October 12th. While we have not received approval at this time, we have been in communication with the mayor and are optimistic approval will be given based on several important factors and indicators. These include the successful test of our protocols and procedures, the health and safety benchmarks that have been met, exceeded and maintained in our community and throughout the state, and the successful deployment of similar health and safety plans throughout the NFL. Please read the information below, as it contains important updates and next steps regarding ticketing, seat assignments and game day protocols.
As we announced on September 1st, Season Ticket Holders will be placed on a rotation schedule in order to ensure each account receives equitable access to games that will have fans in attendance. We are currently finalizing the game and seat assignments for the first rotation. Early next week, you will receive an email from the Saints alerting you that your tickets for the first rotation have been posted to Account Manager. If you have a Saints parking pass, your mobile pass will also appear in your account. Please familiarize yourself with our updated Terms and Conditions, including the Fan Health Promise section.
As a reminder, the Saints have shifted to 100% mobile ticketing. Paper tickets and parking passes will not be sent to you. All account holders and guests must present tickets on their mobile phone in order to gain entrance to the game. We recommend that you download the most recent versions of the Saints app and the SeatGeek app to your mobile phone now, so that you are prepared to manage your tickets once they have been posted in Account Manager. Once you receive your tickets, transfer and resell options will be available to you in Account Manager, but please carefully read the Ticket Pod Integrity section of our Terms and Conditions prior to conducting any transfers or reselling tickets.
As a reminder, these game and seat assignments were based on how ticket account pods can be configured to meet the NFL and CDC social distancing guidelines. While we are doing our best to make these assignments as close to your actual seat location and section as possible, the social distancing guidelines required by the CDC, NFL and our local and state officials make it impossible to issue exact seat locations in most cases.
Any additional single game tickets that are available for games will be offered via lottery to Season Ticket Holders who were not granted access to the individual game. If your name was drawn in the lottery, your tickets for those games will also appear in Account Manager.
Seat assignments for future game rotations will be dictated by continued guidance from our health and safety experts and governmental requirements (including the CDC). These policies will be communicated to season ticket holders approximately one month in advance of each game. For example, the game and seat rotations for the next home games will be sent via email on or around October 19th.
As a reminder, the NFL has mandated that all fans and staff wear face coverings while attending games. More detailed information regarding game day health & safety protocols will be emailed to you prior to the L.A. Chargers game.
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we navigate these unprecedented circumstances. Should you have any questions, please reach out to your Saints ticket sales rep directly, call our general Customer Service line at 504-731-1700 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.