COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health approved of the Blue Jackets' plans Saturday to host fans at 10% capacity at Nationwide Arena, which is nearly 2,000 people.

That means for the first time since March 1, 2020, fans will be allowed in Nationwide Arena starting March 2 when the Jackets play against the Detroit Red Wings. On Tuesday, current season ticket holders will have access to single-game tickets through pre-sales.

“We have worked diligently with Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment, as well as Nationwide Arena staff, to put protocols in place that put the health and safety of our fans, players, coaches, staff and guests at the forefront," said club President Mike Priest in a statement. "The 5th Line is incredibly important to our team. We need them in our building and we will need them to abide by the established protocols to ensure we can continue to be together for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.”

Fans will need to go through and abide by a number of protocols before seeing the games. Face masks are required — bandanas, gaiters or masks with vents are prohibited. Visitors will also be required to fill out a questionnaire online, and seats will be grouped up and spaced six feet away from each other. All concession and merchandising stands will not accept cash. 

In the Blue Jackets' press release Saturday, they listed these precautions for bathrooms, escalators and elevators:

  • Elevators will be limited to two guests or your ticket pod size — four guests max — and those with disabilities will have first priority. Staircases are available for most guests
  • Escalator capacity will be spread out with no more than two guests every three steps
  • Motion-activated faucets, urinals, and toilets have been installed, and hands-free paper towel, soap and hand sanitizer dispensers are available in every restroom
  • Dedicated venue staff will sanitize touchpoints frequently throughout events
  • Most restrooms will have designated entrances and exits to ensure guests can maintain physical distancing
  • Family restrooms and the nursing room will be open to guests
  • All tickets will list a designated Nationwide Arena entrance to ensure social distancing and congregating in arena concourses and common areas will not be permitted

Other protocols for guests:

  • Bags are not permitted — exceptions include medical bags, diaper bags or clutches
  • As part of NHL guidelines, the first four rows around the rink, the 12-foot safe zone from player benches, Zamboni tunnels and penalty boxes have been removed from available seating for safety purposes
  • There will be no designated smoking areas at Nationwide Arena
  • Arena District Parking will limit garages for event parking and all garages will be cashless and require a pre-purchased parking pass


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