Madison and Dane County to Lift All Public Health Orders; What Does This Mean for the CrossFit Games Spectator Experience?
Public Health Madison and Dane County, WI announced Tuesday that all public health orders, “including mask requirements, and gathering and capacity limits” will be lifted, effective June 2.
What this means: While half of the Semifinal events will be held virtually, this week’s announcement from local public health officials, as well as current trends in Dane County and across the US, suggests that by late-July, spectators at the in-person CrossFit Games can expect a relatively “normal” (read: pre-pandemic) fan experience.
What they’re saying: The Morning Chalk Up spoke with Brent Kyzer-McHenry, the Executive Director of the Alliant Energy Center prior to Tuesday’s public health announcement and how thoughts were very consistent with what local officials ultimately revealed. He indicated that if Dane County continues to trend in the right direction in regards to their COVID numbers and positivity rate, things could look pretty normal.
- “Given the strong trend in vaccinations, reduction in the spread, hospitalizations, etc. it is very likely there will be no restriction to capacities at the time of the Games,” said Kyzer-McHenry. “We will continue to work with CrossFit on their planning to ensure safety and that the best Games can happen.”
- From the Public Health Madison and Dane County announcement: “Today I applaud the 63% of Dane County residents who have gotten vaccinated. This extremely high number allows us to make the decision today to lift our orders on June 2, when we estimate that 75% of those eligible for the vaccine will have received their first dose,” said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County.
- “Dane County has put in the work, and now we are going to start seeing the benefits. The pandemic isn’t over, but we are getting closer to normal thanks to the sacrifices we have all made in the past year. We have saved lives in this county by following public health orders and now getting vaccinated. We should all be proud,” said Jerry Halverson, MD, Chair of the Board of Health.
While things could always change, the tone sounds promising. And as for what fans will need once they arrive at the Alliant Energy Center, expect it to be similar to what they needed in 2019 — just proof of a ticket to the event.
- “The Center would never require a COVID test or proof of vaccination. That would be at the discretion of CrossFit.”
- In fact, “many of the decisions will be “at the discretion of CrossFit at the time of the Games,” said Kyzer-McHenry.
- As for outdoor events, there isn’t a cap on capacity.
Worth noting: Just last week, the CDC updated its mask recommendations for fully vaccinated people, “anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” said Dr. Rochelle Walensky, the director of the CDC. It’s likely that Dane County will now adjust its guidelines as they follow CDC recommendations.
At the venue: Recently, the Alliant Energy Center added needlepoint bipolar ionization technologies (NPBI) to all of their indoor facilities to enhance cleanliness.
- “The Alliant Energy Center is committed to maintaining proper cleaning protocols and disinfection techniques to combat infectious diseases like COVID-19, and this new technology is another innovative way we can provide visitors a clean and safe experience while on-site,” said Dane County Executive, Joe Parisi.
- “Our NPBI technology ensures an additional layer of cleanliness and enhances the already-robust cleaning practices in place at the Center,” said Kyzer-McHenry. “The health and well-being of our guests and employees is our top priority.”
The Alliant Energy Center also received the Global Bio-risk Advisory Council (GBAC) STAR, the cleaning industry’s only outbreak prevention, response, and recovery accreditation for facilities. The gold standard is awarded to facilities that can “ensure a safe and healthy peace of mind for event attendees” through proper cleaning procedures.
- “The Center will provide hand sanitizing stations as requested as part of our GBAC Clean Slate program,” said Kyzer-McHenry.
Head of Communications for CrossFit, Andrew Weinstein, confirmed that CrossFit continues to move full steam ahead with a full in-person event and noted that the CrossFit Games are “finalizing guidance and protocols for athletes, staff, and attendees in light of these new standards.” He encouraged fans to purchase tickets soon as CrossFit expects prime seats to sell out quickly as the country opens up. On its website, CrossFit states, “should there be changes in the format due to COVID-19, CrossFit reserves the right to alter ticket offerings and issue refunds. Should significant changes be made, ticket purchasers will have the option for a full refund.”
The bottom line: While there remain many unknowns surrounding how COVID regulations and recommendations will evolve in the coming weeks, Tuesday’s announcement from local public health officials and national trends indicate that the atmosphere at the Alliant Energy Center and around Madison will be similar to 2019.