TAMPA BAY – AMALIE Arena, home of the Tampa Bay Lightning and temporarily the Toronto Raptors of the NBA, today unveiled a comprehensive, world class health and safety management plan which features extensive measures aimed at reopening the facility in a responsible manner. In recognition of the organization’s work, it has become one of the first in professional sports to earn dual certification from both the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) for excellence in COVID-19 safety preparedness and protocols.
After months of meticulous planning and execution, AMALIE Arena has addressed several key areas including cleaning and sanitization processes and procedures, emergency preparedness programs, health service resources, air and water quality management, technology and innovation. These efforts have been part of a comprehensive overall plan, devised in conjunction with local healthcare and government officials, to ensure a safe and healthy reopening of the facility for fans and staff.
“Now, more than ever, the health and safety of every person that walks through the doors of AMALIE Arena, whether it’s a guest, partner or staff member, is our highest priority,” said Vinik Sports Group CEO Steve Griggs. “We have worked tirelessly alongside our healthcare partners at AdventHealth, Tampa General Hospital and USF Health, as well as the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County, the Tampa Sports Authority and other state and local government officials to ensure a healthy and safe reopening of the facility that our guests can have confidence in. We are honored to be accredited by the IWBI for their health and safety rating and to acquire ISSA’s GBAC STAR Certification, becoming one of the first professional sports arenas to do so.”
Following a controlled, queued entry into the arena, fans will notice increased measures to promote physical distancing, including at all gates, concessions and restrooms. Concession and retail stands will be cashless and contactless with plexiglass barriers installed for the safety of guests and staff. A total of 220 wall and free-standing hand sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the facility for use. Arena sanitization team members will increase frequency of cleaning and sanitation in all areas being used with an emphasis on commonly used surfaces such as seats, handrails and bathrooms. Extensive signage and physical distancing measures have been added to assure six-foot separation between patrons. Ultra-violet disinfectant lights have been installed over handrails at all six escalator locations inside the arena. Additionally, the number of people allowed on elevators at one time will also be limited. Behind the scenes, AMALIE Arena’s upgraded, hospital-grade HVAC system features increased filtering processes and bi-polar ionization in each of it’s 22 air handlers to limit the spread of air-borne pathogens.
Fans will utilize mobile ticketing in order to ensure a higher level of contactless service. Guests will not be allowed to enter with any bags and proper searches without direct contact will be conducted. Seats not in use due to physical distancing will be zip tied closed to ensure fans are enjoying the game or event are at a safe proximity to other guests.
AMALIE Arena-managed parking lots have also been upgraded to allow for cashless, contactless payment. Valet parking for the moment has been suspended to assure safety of the guest.
Per CDC protocols, everyone on the grounds of the arena will be required to wear a face covering that must fit over their nose and mouth. Those areas include, but aren’t necessarily limited to, inside the arena, Ford Thunder Alley, the East Plaza, portions of the sidewalk on Channelside Drive and the 15-mintute drop-off circle. Masks may only be removed when a guest is actively eating or drinking. This messaging will be amplified and reinforced through the Lightning’s digital “Wear Your Mask” campaign.
As part of an overall communications strategy, Vinik Sports Group has established the ‘Play it Safe’ campaign in order to welcome fans back to the arena while also providing them with a road map for how they can ensure their own safety and of those around them. The two-part approach will feature two elements: “How We Play it Safe”, which will include measures being taken by AMALIE Arena to protect guests, and “How You Play it Safe”, focusing on fan conduct and responsibility. Updated messaging and signage will be installed in and around the facility to remind fans of how AMALIE Arena is protecting them and how they can protect themselves and other fans.
The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) is a public benefit corporation and the world’s leading organization focused on deploying people first places to advance a global culture of health. WELL v2 is the most recent version of its popular WELL Building Standard (WELL), and the WELL Community Standard pilot is a district scale rating system that sets a new global benchmark for healthy communities. The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder education to help organizations get back to business.
The Global Biorisk Advisory Council® (GBAC) helps organizations and businesses prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological threats, and biohazard situations and real-time crises. It offers education, training, certification, response management, and crisis consulting for situations where environments require a much higher level of cleaning, disinfection, and restoration.