Sports arenas reopen: What will become our new normal, post pandemic?

By Olivia Barker Dell

Covid-19 has developed into a full on  pandemic over the last year. By early February of 2020 we knew about the incoming virus, but we never thought it would affect our lives to this extent. Everything we once knew as  normal, was  switched and mixed. Working from home, learning from home, and watching sports games from home became our new reality. During the Covid-19 city wide lockdown, families were forced to remain at home with only a few exceptions like going grocery shopping or traveling to work. And during this time, many office buildings, factories, restaurants and more were shut down due to the virus. In addition, most of our entertainment industry closed down, including sporting arenas.

This affected sport fanatics across the United States,especially New York: home to the Mets, Yankees, Nicks, Nets, Jets, Giants, Rangers, Islanders, New York FC, and more. The list goes on, from football teams to baseball teams. New Yorkers love the thrill of the crowd, the music, the food, the games, and the energy. This was all lost when restrictions were put in place for in-person events, you just don’t get the same feeling sitting in your living room staring at your television that you do surrounded by fellow fans. During the rise of Covid-19 . 

Over the past few months as our city has been reopening, people have begun  going back to work, restaurants are opening to a certain capacity, schools are reopening, and sports arenas are reopening as well. They were one of the last to reopen in New York. Currently baseball stadiums, like Yankee Stadium, are allowed to let in fans to see the game in person, but only up to 20% capacity. While centers, like the Barclays center in Brooklyn, will only be able to let in 10% of their fans to watch their team in person. Attendees will also have to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative covid-19 test within the timeframe given by the certain arena. Because of these new requirements, most new yorkers won’t be able to return back to their regular routine of going to see the games with family and friends. Something we’re all asking is: when will we be able to go back to our normal? Many people remember what it was like to attend a sports game in their home arena. As a New Yorker I would go to Yankees games all the time with my family. I remember getting ready for a game, wearing my sports fan gear, waiting on ridiculously long lines to get in, buying soda and hotdogs, crushing peanuts during the game, rooting and screaming when the yankees scored a run, and watching everyone around me scream, laugh, and show joy. That’s what many New Yorkers remember, but that is all in the past, sadly. That was before Covid-19’s new normal. And now we need to figure out what our post-covid normal is. The new regulations and restrictions will definitely change our known normal, but we will learn to adapt to it. There are many compontines to our new normal, some are economical, political, and some just involve the energy and feeling attendees will experience. As we have seen our current Governor of New York Andrew Cummo has continued to loosen guidelines as we progress through the pandemic. More and more New Yorkers are taking the variety of covid-19 vaccines available to our city, but many are against getting the vaccine. We have most seen this hesitation from the republican party. I think we all know, many supporters of the republican party are against getting the vaccines because of the politicians they support, who are against the covid vaccine. But as we progress many republican party supporters will give in and take the covid-19 vaccine because of the new sport arenas requirements. While getting a covid-19 test is another way to gain entry, it is much easier and quicker to just get the vaccine. 

Because of the lockdown we have seen a rise in food delivery because we were stuck in our house. While we were at home, we were still able to order in from most of our favorite restaurants. And many did so, while they were watching sporting events on television. Before and during football, baseball, basketball, soccer games NYC’s crazed fans would order many of these foods from online delivery websites such as doordash, and grubhub. A lot of this food came from fast food restaurants like McDonalds, Burger King, Subway, KFC, ect. But now that sports arenas are open, eventually food venders will reopen in all sports arenas. Stadiums like Yankee Stadium have reopened their retail food but many others have not. Other sports arenas are letting fans bring their own drinks and beverages to the game as long as it is checked by stadium security before entering. Our new normal sadly is wearing masks, getting vaccinated, bringing food and drinks, and not having the full energy of the crowd. But at least we can go to attend games. In the end, this is our new normal and we will adapt. Our lives were turned upside down a year ago and we are now getting back to our before pandemic lives. It will be a slow recovery for our nation and city but one day we will return to the roar of the crowd and the crushing of peanuts.