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Utah athletic department seeking fan input on how to make Rice-Eccles Stadium safe this fall

Officials seek to enhance fan experience, alleviate concerns at Rice-Eccles Stadium this fall

Utah fans celebrate a touchdown during first-half action in the Utah-Northern Illinois football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
Utah fans celebrate a touchdown during first-half action in the Utah-Northern Illinois football game at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — University of Utah athletics has sent out a survey to its football season ticket holders soliciting responses on stadium readiness and how to provide the best fan experience possible this fall.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created multiple changes across Utah athletics,” reads the introduction. “As we prepare our return to Rice-Eccles Stadium for the upcoming football season, our primary goal is the safety of our student-athletes and our fans.”

The letter also notes that the department will continue to follow university leadership — as well as local, state and national health experts — to make the “best decisions possible” to care for the players, coaches, staff and fans.

“We encourage all of our season ticket holders to fill out the survey so that we can put our best foot forward,” said Utah deputy athletics director for external operations Scott Kull.

Responses will be kept confidential. Questions include the following:

  • How comfortable are you returning to Rice-Eccles Stadium?
  • Would you be willing to arrive at Rice-Eccles Stadium at a designated time to reduce lines at the entrance?
  • When entering and exiting the stadium, what would be your preference? Possible answers: Allow fans to enter/exit at any location at any time, or require special arrival times or specific portal entrances and exits based on seat selection.
  • Rank the following on what would make you most comfortable when entering the stadium: social distancing, arrive at a specific time, require temperature checks, require all fans to wear masks, require fans to sanitize and wash hands.
  • Rank the following concerns about coming back into Rice-Eccles Stadium: returning without a vaccine, the availability of disinfectant materials or personal protective equipment, ordering food, the stadium not being properly disinfected, public health regulations not being followed, readjustment to the new fan experience, fans not adhering to social distancing, feeling that it’s unsafe to return too early, sitting too close to other fans, using common areas (restrooms, shops), having in-person interactions with others, no concerns.
  • Rank how you feel most comfortable regarding your seats for the 2020 football season: increased cleaning and sanitization, access to hand sanitizers, require users to ensure social distancing, require one row vacant between each seating section, require fans to wear masks during games, require six feet of separation in seating bowl between other groups or individuals, only allow certain sections to be open, access for disinfection wipes, require one seat to be open on either side between seats.
  • Rank the following in trying to maintain social distancing regarding restrooms: require masks, access to hand sanitizer, utilizing every other stall or urinal, doors being propped open with designated one-way signage for entering and exiting, limit the number of people inside the restroom, provide additional portable restrooms outside the stadium that can be accessed during games, increased sanitization of restrooms, require a new line format that encourages social distancing, installing hands-free door openers, request fans, by section, access restrooms at designated times to encourage social distancing, clearly defined line markings to encourage social distancing.
  • Select all that apply regarding food at the stadium: touchless transactions (no cash or handling of credit cards), specific times to visit food options based on seat selection, seat delivery of food via app or the web, notification when your food is ready to be picked up, no common area for condiments, straws or utensils, increased sanitization.
  • How do you want to receive communication about returning to the stadium and game-day operations? E-mail, social media, download mobile app, UtahUtes.com.
  • How do you plan to travel to games? Personal vehicle, car pool, TRAX, bus, ride-sharing, walk.

Demographic information (age, seat location) is also sought. Space is provided for additional comment on any questions or overall observations with the survey.

Utah’s home schedule includes visits by BYU (Sept. 3), Montana State (Sept. 12), USC (Oct. 2), Washington (Oct. 17), Arizona (Nov. 7) and Oregon State (Nov. 14).