Houston Texans gameday changes include pod seating for up to 13,300 fans

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Just a few days out from bringing back their fans inside NRG Stadium, the Houston Texans revealed the steps they're taking to keep supporters safe while enjoying gameday again.

On Thursday, the team hosted a first-look event ahead of the Texans' matchup with the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday. The team can admit up to 13,300 fans, or 20% capacity, inside the 67,000-seat venue.

The team said fans should expect to see plenty of changes in and around NRG Stadium.

For starters, any fan over the age of 10 must wear a mask, unless they're actively eating, both in the parking lot and inside of NRG. Additionally, fans attending the game are encouraged to take their temperature before arriving, in addition to having to answer a series of health-related questions before being allowed inside.

All working staff will have their temperature taken on-site.

The team says it won't reach the adjusted capacity, as seats in the stadium are being sold in "pods" of two, four, five and six seats. If a family of four buys tickets in a six-seat pod, for example, the remaining two seats must go unsold as a result of social distancing.

The Texans and NRG Park have also gone to great lengths to minimize touchpoints within the stadium. Tickets are now 100% mobile. No cash will be accepted for food and merchandise. And magnetometers at entrances have been enhanced to eliminate the need for removing your keys, wallet, and phone upon entry.

Texans team president Jamey Rootes says the team will continue to celebrate "the culinary capital of the South" by offering fans food from Chris Shepherd, Killen's, Goode Co., and now, Treebeards and The Annie Café and Bar. In addition to not taking cash, fans will now see more self-ordering kiosks, grab-and-go meals, and even delivery in certain sections of the stadium

Finally, as it relates to sanitation, there are nearly 500 hand-sanitizer stations inside NRG Stadium, in addition to 50 roaming "disinfectors," who will clean the facility throughout the event.

Additionally, smoking in NRG Stadium is prohibited this season, and staff has received COVID-specific training.

Tailgating is restricted this Sunday, but the team said it will reassess after the game.

READ ALSO: Houston Texans applied for up to 15,000 fans at NRG Stadium

When Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said the city would allow the return of special events like sports games, the Texans were among the teams first in mind to take that opportunity.

Turner, though, said a 25% capacity limit and strict social distancing guidelines will be needed before any large scale event can be approved.

SEE ALSO: Houston Texans test the NFL's plan to stay COVID-19 safe while getting back to business

The Texans already held a tailgate event for the team's first game of the season last month. In addition, the Houston Dynamo and Dash announced they would hold matches at BBVA Stadium under these new rules.
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