BC Place has introduced new safety protocols, but many of them feel unnecessary.
By Craig Allan, Business Manager
Since August, BC Place has been open to hosting events again after being closed due to the pandemic. This has been a joy for people like me who enjoy going to BC Lions home games. However, the new safety protocols put in place, including online tickets and authorized bags have been a real nuisance when trying to enter. The opening of BC Place did not start on the best foot. A strategy to cordon off exits and funnel the visitors through select exits was quickly criticized and scrapped after the first Lions home game, but as time has gone on other new rules have been catching some heat.
One that I saw first hand at the Lions home game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders was BC Place’s new rule limiting bag sizes and styles. As of this year, the rule is that no bags larger than 12” x 12” x 6” and the bag must be see-through. The website says that this has been done to “make entry to the stadium faster, safer, and easier” but I did not see that at the game on September 24. There I saw people angry to the point of needing to have security called. This happened multiple times causing the line to move very slowly.
Was there really that much of a danger or holdup of getting people into the stadium due to bag sizes? They have a bag check that you can use if you do have to carry a large bag into the stadium that you can store for the duration of your event. At $10 a bag though the cost is steep. Living in a city like Vancouver, where keeping your items in a car is not usually an option due to lack of parking and the cost, many people carry bags with them. I know for myself, a bag is a real lifeline, especially if I need to go to multiple places in a day without a car. To get around this, I have just been shoving my stuff in the pockets of my jacket and have been getting through with no problem, but if I can do that, why can’t I keep it in a regular bag? The clear bags pair up nicely with the clear motive of BC Place to grift people out of $10 to check a bag that they know people likely need.
Another problem I have had is with the mobile tickets. In previous seasons as a Lion’s season ticket holder, I have gotten my tickets sent to me as a card that can be scanned at the door. Now for tickets, they have switched to a mobile ticket service through Ticketmaster, which extends to all events. These tickets though are fairly annoying. I have trouble accessing them on my phone on gamedays, as I have to navigate through various sites to find the ticket. It can’t be stored as a picture to get back to by design, and when you have to also present your vaccine passport and ID, it can be a nuisance to try and find all that stuff when you are in a long lineup. The BC Place website says you can save it to your phone, but I have never been able to figure out how. I don’t get how this is safer than sending me a pass card like before considering I touch my phone a lot more than I would touch the card, so the ticket has fewer germs than the phone would.
All this combined with other aspects of the experience like going through a metal detector that didn’t even detect a coin I accidentally left in my pocket. Plus, there have been multiple games this season where despite claims that social distancing was enforced, I still find myself sitting next to strangers at most games. As a result, I find these new protocols to be unnecessary.
I feel they are using COVID as a way to squeeze more money out of people just looking to have some fun after a long year and a half of COVID lockdown. I hope that as things get back to normal, BC Place starts lowering these restrictions. Let’s get back to having fun. The size of bags and going entirely mobile, whether it be for tickets or now cashless payments, are ruining the experience for people wanting to see their favourite sports teams or bands. Safety is important, but not when it morphs into overkill.