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Fan safety concerns at BC Place amid rising COVID-19 cases

Last Updated Aug 20, 2021 at 6:19 pm PDT

Summary

'This is a joke,' said a fan after many exits were blocked after the BC Lions' game ended

Many complained about feeling nervous about overcrowding at BC Place

BC Place says it is aware of the concerns and is committed to safety

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – It looks like not all the exits were open when throngs of fans tried to leave after Thursday’s BC Lions defeat at BC Place.

Some complaints of clogged and crammed pathways to the exits came following the end of the game, as well as concerns not everyone was wearing a mask.

It’s worrying some people amid the fast-spreading Delta variant.

One fan, who spoke to NEWS 1130 on condition of anonymity, admits he didn’t feel safe.

“I went out to the concourse people were not social distancing in line, everyone’s going through the roped off areas.”

He says, “you’re shoulder to shoulder with people…and I mean, everyone is going out one gate through six doors and it’s funny, I said to the lady who works there, ‘This is a joke and she says, ‘Yeah, I agree.'”

The man, who says he’s double vaccinated against COVID-19, adds by the time most people were out, he noticed they did open another set of doors.

“What they need to do… for future games is they’ll have all doors open. I didn’t feel safe leaving… just because everyone is rushing to get out.” He adds, “they did not have anyone directing people on the concourse and making sure people were socially distanced and it’s hard when you have 12,000 fans leaving, but I did not feel safe leaving the game.”

He says he would go to a game again, assuming they’ve made changes.

“I just said to my neighbour, who’s going to the Whitecaps game on Saturday, he’s an older gentleman and I said, ‘take your mask, be careful when you leave. I don’t know what it’s going to be like.’ I like to support local sports teams… [but] if I see signs, ‘This door exit is closed,’ or ‘This door is closed,’ I may leave the game a little bit earlier to avoid the rush.”


He says he couldn’t believe things weren’t more organized but acknowledges this was the first time BC Place has hosted a major event since the pandemic started.

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“If this is the way they’re going to operate, we’re going to be back to square one with lockdowns and other things. I don’t blame the BC Lions, I think they did a great job letting fans know, I think the ball was dropped on the BC Place end of it just with the expectation of a fan thinking you’re going to be safe and you weren’t,” he explained.

BC Place says in a statement it is aware the concerns.

“The BC Lions game was well attended last night, and as many guests exited the building at once at the end of the game, it was congested in certain areas of the venue. Going forward, BC Place will ensure there is access to all of our doors at the end of events and work with the teams to remind our guests that they are available to use all doors when exiting the building,” the statement reads in part.

 

Adding, “we will also continue to work with the teams to ensure that together we remind our guests that masks are recommended and that guests may remain in their seats for a few extra moments at the end of the game if they would like to wait for the crowd to dissipate for exiting.”

BC Place says it does adhere to the public health orders, which do not mandate masks indoors for fans, but has implemented a policy “all staff, contractor and food and beverage employees making masks mandatory at our venue.”

The Vancouver Whitecaps play at BC Place on Saturday.