Page 37 - Security Today, July/August 2020
P. 37

Social Distancing will be Prominent When Sporting Complexes Reopen
By Peter Ford
Aficionados across the United States await the return of professional sports and the reopening of stadiums and sports complexes. The bad news at this point is that we simply do not know exactly when fans can return in mass-scale to watch live sporting events. The good news is that they will eventually return — although likely with some pandemic-induced protocols.
While hard timelines remain estimations and could change with a new spike in COVID cases, organizations are planning for the time when they can reopen their gates. As they plan, they will seek guidance from health officials to establish screening protocols for workers and guests to minimize sick individuals from entering. They will also seek guidance on face coverings, temperature checks and social distancing to mitigate the risk of ex- posure in case potentially contagious individuals attend events.
One of the most prominent changes fans will assuredly see when sporting facilities reopen is the practice of social distancing. Pre-game fes- tivities that typically draw large crowds are likely to be cancelled, with tailgaters closely watched to ensure they maintain appropriate distance. Lines to enter facilities, at concession stands and restrooms will probably be much longer as individuals are kept at safe distances. Seating capacity will also be reduced, with seats left empty for space to separate fans.
Temperature screening stations near gate entrances will also be a probable addition to the stadium experience, with those displaying a high temperature being directed to additional screening by on-hand medical personnel who will determine if they can enter the facility. Then of course, there will be protocols for the wearing of face coverings by spectators, staff and first responders.
As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus, we might not know exactly when sports will return in its past form. But they will, and we will have to adapt to the changes required to keep the pandemic under control.
Peter Ford is the director of G4S Corporate Risk Services.
This is just a sampling of ways venues are integrating their technologies to enhance the overall safety and security of their entertainment districts.
While technology is certainly an important part of the secu- rity equation, so is staff training. Given the growing complexity of threats to entertainment districts, security staff are being chal- lenged to know a lot more than simply how to monitor cameras and search and review video.
To that end, many sports venues are turning to the National Center for Spectator Sports and Safety (NCS4) for guidance. The national research center provides the U.S. sports industry with a wealth of resources and learning opportunities about the latest ad- vances in stadium security solutions and industry best practices.
NCS4 not only conducts thought leadership summits and net- working opportunities for venue security managers, it also offers professional certification programs, hands-on workshops and evacuation training exercises for stadium personnel. Stadiums can contract with NCS4 to conduct venue security and safety as- sessments to help them target improvements to their security pro- grams. As an added service to the sports venue community, NCS4 operates a National Sports Security Laboratory where they test, evaluate and validate technology solutions.
What makes NCS4 so invaluable is its ability to provide a way for professional sports and event venue managers, professional associations, security products manufacturers, first responders and government agencies to connect and share experiences and recommendations that can improve the safety and security of ev- ery spectator venue across the country.
While entertainment districts hold great appeal for investors, they raise complex challenges for security staff. Security has gone from a game day task to a 24/7 operation, making increased situational awareness of paramount importance. We’re seeing technology systems burgeoning into sophisticated, enterprise- wide solutions able to monitor both the sports complex and the surrounding entertainment district as it continues to grow. With larger areas to protect and a wider array of surveillance tools to master, ongoing training in current industry
best practices will be the key to effectively con-
fronting today’s dynamic threat landscape.
Mark McCormack is the senior national sales manager, Global and National Accounts, at Axis Communications Inc.
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