ORLANDO, Fla. - Thousands of Orlando Magic fans will back inside the Amway Center for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person sports are returning to Orlando. The Magic is hosting the Miami Heat for Game 1 on Wednesday, but fans will notice many changes starting before they even head into the arena.
"You’ll actually have a questionnaire that you’ll complete online before you even arrive here and tell you whether to come to the game or not, so if you’re showing any kind of signs, please don’t come," said Allen Johnson, chief venues officer for the City of Orlando.
Don’t bring a bag, they’re banned.
"Small clutch only," Johnson said.
Bags are no longer allowed to avoid security checks that may transfer germs. The crowd is being capped at 4,000, that’s less than 20% capacity.
"For the first five games of the regular season, we will have an even more reduced capacity, more in the area of about 2,000 fans per game," said Alex Martins, CEO of the Orlando Magic.
Home of the Orlando Magic.
The entire experience inside has gone touch-free. Fans will scan their digital ticket and concessions have gone cashless. Inside the arena bowl, Ticketmaster has dispersed parties to allow ample distance.
"If you have a group and they’re in two’s or four’s, you’ll be spaced apart from other people, six feet at-least, in all directions," Johnson said.
While there are many changes guests will see, there are just as many guests won’t see, starting with the air.
"New air filters and ultraviolet light to kill any germs, viruses and bacteria in there," Johnson said.
That’s not the only way the arena is using UV light.
"We also added them to the escalator handrails, underneath, so every time they go under, they get shot with that UV light and cleaned," Johnson said.
And fans will be asked to do their part. Masks must be worn at all times, except when eating or drinking.
"And, that’s at your seat. You have to take the food and drink to your seat," Johnson said.
Staff will be strictly enforcing masks, giving first a verbal warning. Second, people will get a written warning card and three-time offenders will be asked to leave.
The Magic takes on the Miami Heat on Wednesday at 7p.m.
"We’re excited to have people back in there watching live basketball," Johnson said.