Masks, social distancing: the name of the game in the NFL draft in Cleveland

CLEVELAND, Ohio – A giant three-day festival is taking place in downtown Cleveland – a concept once taken for granted now looks like a luxury more than a year after the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

But even as more Americans get vaccinated and the CDC relaxed some of its guidelines, football fans in attendance at the opening of the NFL Draft Thursday overwhelmingly complied with health and safety rules. security.

As storms blanketed downtown in rain all day, thousands of attendees showed up for the first day of the project’s celebrations. The NFL draft experience around FirstEnergy stadium was a rainbow of colors as people wearing shirts from Browns, Cardinals, Colts and other teams were spotted searching for shelter in the stadium and under tents.

But the most notable sightings were the facial covers, and they were everywhere. From surgical masks to football-themed facial accessories, it was clear that safety was a priority not only for the organizers of the NFL Draft, but also for the participants.

“Everyone complies. Everyone is respectful by keeping their distance and wearing their mask. I had no problem with anyone, ”said Larry Dingler, 44, of Brunswick.

The NFL Draft website made it easy for participants to find the rules. A Health and Safety Playbook posted online urges fans to maintain a distance of 6 feet, wear their face shields at all times unless eating or drinking, using hand sanitizers, and going to the isolation area. they start to feel bad. Each participant must also fulfill a health plan pledge, confirming that they have not been exposed to COVID-19 in the past 14 days or shown symptoms in the past 48 hours.

NFL Draft staff members located in high traffic areas throughout the experiment held signs reminding people to keep their masks on. And if someone didn’t have one, the staff were equipped with extras. Water fountains were blocked off, hand sanitizer stations were strategically placed, signage was on the ground to help people maintain their social distance, and seats in the stadium were set up in small groups.

Of all the safety requirements, the 6 foot distance rule seemed to be the most difficult to follow. Many sought shelter from the rain in small areas and the queues for experiences and food sometimes lacked social distancing, although they were no different from lines seen elsewhere during the pandemic.

But the mood within the fan experience was excitement and celebration, not fear. And the vast majority of participants who were interviewed said they felt comfortable with the precautions in place and, if so, felt there was too much, not too little.

“I’m vaccinated and I’m a nurse, so I’m still working on it. I don’t mind being here, ”said Steve Jagel, 33, of Sandusky. “You have to wear a mask. I don’t like it but you have to follow the rules to be here.

While numerous, many NFL safety measures revolve around two precautions that have become second nature to many like cases have hit nearly 150 million worldwide: social distancing and wearing a mask. This allayed the concerns of Michael Maxey, 37, of Bedford, who was present with his two young children.

“We all wear masks and we don’t get too close to anyone so I feel safe,” said Maxey. “I’m impressed. They seem to know what they’re doing. They have a bunch of hand sanitizer stations all over the place and they check everyone when they come in. I’m not at all worried about that.

There are still two days until the 2021 NFL Draft and the lessons learned from this national event in Cleveland are sure to serve as a guide for other organizations as more events take place this summer as the pandemic continues.

But just like the rainstorm in Cleveland, there will be clearer days ahead as experts continue to move forward in the fight against the pandemic. Meanwhile, people continue to work together and protect each other because even though there are 32 teams in the NFL, in the battle against the coronavirus, we are all on the same team.

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About Keith Johnson

Keith Johnson

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