After a year of being indoors with our families (and lots of streamed movies and television), many are desperate to experience outdoor events this summer. Concerts, ballgames, festivals — anything outdoors with other people that look makes life feel “normal” once again.
But to make the most out of our 2021 summer experiences, you must be be prepared. First thing to know: Events are probably not going to look like you remember, but they will still be fun, especially if you know to expect. The second thing is to anticipate that rules will change throughout the summer. Rules may relax or tighten based upon the local health authority’s recommendations, so be flexible and vigilant about researching the venue before you go.
Here’s how to get the most out of your outdoor experience:
1. Know what to bring.
After you check online to see the safety protocols for your venue, figure out what to bring (or not to bring!). You might need to bring a blanket, you might need to bring your own chair and you might need to bring a credit card since many destinations, like baseball stadiums and concert venues, are going cashless. In addition, bags and purses might not be allowed for fear of contamination.
2. Service offering changes.
As mentioned above, many places have gone cashless in the pandemic — and will continue following that plan this summer. Another thing to note: Many venues will have limited, or no concession stand offerings this summer. At some local destinations, you might need to bring your own food and drink to last for the duration of the event.
3. Be prepared for smaller crowds.
If you are looking forward to elbow-to-elbow sporting events or concerts like in pre-pandemic times, think again. Crowds at many venues across the country will be at a reduced capacity. At Chicago Cubs’ games, for example, the stadium will be at 25% capacity, and guests will be seated in pods of four or less with a minimum distance of 6-feet between pods in all directions. Knowing seating restrictions beforehand is important, especially if you plan on buying seats for a large group.
4. Have the right mask.
At a lot of popular summer venues, including the St. Louis Cardinals’ Busch Stadium, bandanas and neck gaiters will not be allowed. Everyone in the stadium will need a normal mask that covers both their nose and mouth.
5. Mobile ticketing. Instead of paper tickets at many venues, fans and visitors will use mobile tickets with a bar code to get into the stadium, outdoor theater or festival. Often these mobile tickets come with instructions on what entrance to use, where you should buy food once inside and even what bathrooms to use.
For summer 2021, mask rules, social distancing, blocked rows and seats and plenty of well-placed sanitation stations will likely be the norm at most events. But remember this: Most venues have worked with local public health authorities to develop protocols meant to keep you all safe this summer. Let’s follow the rules and have a fun summer to remember!