Arena Officials Taking Proactive Health Steps Ahead of Basketball Conferences

About 20,000 fans are expected to visit Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, where a college basketball tournament will start Thursday

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Dickies Arena officials say they are taking proactive steps against coronavirus as they prepare to host the American Athletic Conference tournament this week.

The AAC tournament for men’s basketball kicks off Thursday and lasts through Sunday.

Alissa Cunningham, director of marketing for Dickies Arena, said the Fort Worth arena is expected to draw about 20,000 fans supporting the 12 teams.

“SMU’s local. We’ve got Houston, Tulsa, Wichita State, a number of great teams we’re excited to have come out,” Cunningham said. “It will be fans from all over just depending on where those teams are traveling from.”

Cunningham said arena officials began discussing weeks ago about what sort of precautionary steps will be taken. They plan to have multiple hand sanitizing stations throughout the arena and to enhance sanitary efforts overnight and locker rooms in between games.

Cunningham said they’re also working with their in-house food and beverage teams.

“In the past, we’ve had these condiments stations where guests can come in and do what they want with the condiments – now we’ve got the individual packets, really just to enhance that cleanliness or safety standard,” she said.

As for the tournament itself, there are no major changes.

This week, the Conference USA Basketball Championships are being held at The Star in Frisco. Collin County health officials confirmed there are three presumptive positive cases of COVID 19 in Frisco as of Tuesday.

Conference officials tell NBC 5, they are monitoring conditions, remaining in consistent communication with the Dallas Cowboys as well as state and national organizations for further information and direction. They are adding portable hand sanitizing stations at key transaction points throughout the Ford Center facility.

“We plan to eliminate the handshake at mid-court after the playing of the National Anthem, as well as players shaking hands with the opposing team coach and/or referees during introductions,” an email to NBC 5 reads. “We urge teams to utilize fist and/or forearm bumps in lieu of handshakes during postgame.”

They’re also urging people to cover coughs or sneezes with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash immediately.

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