INDIANAPOLIS — Fans attending March Madness games over the next few weeks will have to adhere to some strict health and safety guidelines.
“Dr. Caine and I have worked with the NCAA, the state of Indiana, the state board of health and civic partners to make sure we can have a safe and successful March,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett.
The NCAA has submitted plans on all elements of the tournament to the Marion County Health Department. Dr. Virginia Caine, department director, says most of the plans have been approved while some are still being finalized.
What fans can expect is the fundamentals will be followed, such as wearing masks and social distancing.
There will also be intensive cleaning processes in place between each game to ensure a safe environment for each set of fans and teams coming into Lucas Oil Stadium.
“This is way more intensive a process than compared to what we had with our Indianapolis Colts games, our other basketball tournaments that we have had,” Caine said.
Teams and staff involved in the tournament will be tested daily for COVID-19 starting seven days before arriving in Indiana. Once they get here, they’ll undergo daily rapid testing.
“The most incredible thing is the bubble effect in regard to all the teams and all the staff related to the event,” Caine said.
Teams will also be wearing high-tech devices to assist with any contact tracing should it be necessary.
“If you get within 6 feet of someone it gives you the time and who that individual is. That’s going to be a daily surveillance process that we look at very carefully that is so robust from a contact tracing standpoint it is just going to be phenomenal,” Caine said.
Caine said fans will also be monitored, “I will know what spectator is sitting in what seat I will know what hotel you are staying at if you are staying at a hotel I will have the address. So I will be able to quickly and very robustly be able to identify anyone who turns out to be positive in our community.”
As for any concern about a surge following the tournament, Caine is not worried as she feels many measures are in place to prevent that. The health department director says she is far more worried about community spread following any spring break trips taken by residents if Marion county.