Concessions Service Best Practices During the Pandemic

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When the Kansas City Chiefs opened the NFL season Sept. 10 against the Houston Texans at Arrowhead Stadium, reminders of COVID-19 were everywhere. Tailgating rules were revised, signage was in place to remind fans to maintain social distance, roughly 75 percent of seats were empty, hand-sanitizing stations were dispersed throughout the stadium, and fans had to check in via a mobile app to receive directions on which gate they should enter through.

Such protocols, and even some that are stricter still, have become commonplace at sports venues nationwide. But what's a fan to do in the event they're craving a cold beer and a hot dog during the game? And is it even safe to indulge in such fare?

Chris Bigelow, president of The Bigelow Companies, which offers food service and merchandising consulting services to the sports, entertainment and convention markets, says operators are still reacting to a changing situation as the pandemic drags on. While experts have largely determined there is a low risk of spreading COVID-19 via food, food service professionals do need to ensure they're not spreading the virus among staff or to patrons. That conundrum has led to a number of changes in how food service is handled inside a sports venue.

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