With March nearing, the Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center are continuing to prepare for the eventual return of fans to the arena.
When and how exactly that happens remains a work in progress. Philadelphia health commissioner Thomas Farley said this week the city is "likely to ease" the limits on event attendance in March. The Flyers' next home game on the schedule is March 7.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Wells Fargo Center has not held groups of fans for sporting events since March 2020.
As it stands currently, the state of Pennsylvania has restricted indoor events to 500 people and the City of Philadelphia has restricted indoor events to 250 people. The Flyers and the Wells Fargo Center will continue to adhere to the restrictions of the city and state.
When fans are permitted to attend games, the official number allowed will be determined by the arena, Flyers and Sixers, according to a source familiar with the planning process. The city and state will provide a percentage of capacity or specific number of maximum guests. The arena will not welcome more than what is permitted, but the Wells Fargo Center must follow its own protocols, as well as guidance from both leagues, to determine the firm, final number, according to the source.
The Wells Fargo Center recently underwent an $11 million renovation of the HVAC system, which has all the air in the seating bowl of the arena replaced every 30 minutes. In early February, the Wells Fargo Center received the International WELL Building Institute's health-safety rating for facility operations and management, which is a third-party verified rating of the arena's health and safety protocols. Other major buildings and venues like the Empire State Building, Taipei 101 Tower, Yankee Stadium and AT&T Stadium are enrolled in the WELL programs.
Per the source, with just a few thousand fans allowed in attendance, the Wells Fargo Center would be bringing back at least 400 part-time employees for every Flyers and Sixers home game.
In order for fans to attend games at the Wells Fargo Center, the arena, for several reasons, has not pushed for proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or proof of a negative COVID-19 test to be guest requirements, according to the source.
The reasons, per the source, are that:
• Vaccines and even testing are not yet widely available, particularly in underserved communities.
• Proof of a negative test is not a failsafe option — between false positive results, delayed results and other issues, requiring guests to produce a negative test isn't equitable or sufficiently reliable.
• The vast majority of other arenas around the country do not require proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test result, either.
According to the source, the Wells Fargo Center has noted that more than 20 NHL and NBA arenas around the country have welcomed fans back with limited capacities, and there are no reports of major COVID outbreaks resulting from arena attendance.
Subscribe to and rate Flyers Talk