INDIANAPOLIS — Bankers Life Fieldhouse welcomed back the general public this weekend for the first time in 10 months.
Families attending "Disney on Ice" are the first to go through new screening procedures with less contact.
The crowd is purposely small for now, like the size of many of the spectators arriving for the shows.
"Disney on Ice" marks the first event at the fieldhouse with ticket-purchasing customers since the Big Ten men’s basketball tournament last March, which was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Fans entering the fieldhouse are now greeted by X-ray machines to scan bags and purses.
"What we're doing is moving people through security and screening in a low contact way,” said Danny Lopez, Pacers Sports and Entertainment Vice President, External Affairs & Corporate Communications. “So, we put protocols in place to be able to safely screen folks without having to go through their bags by hand, which is what we used to do."
Fifteen VOTI Matrix Series scanners were installed in December to eliminate the need for direct staff contact with guests and to expedite the entrance process.
Among the new Health & Safety Guidelines, Bankers Life Fieldhouse guests are required to complete online health screening, ticketing is mobile, transactions are cashless and seating is in pods spread out from other groups of people.
"Folks have to wear a mask,” Lopez said. “That's required through the fieldhouse at all times, except when you're actively eating and drinking. And one important point is, guests can only eat or drink in their seats. That's no longer allowed on the concourses."
Indiana Pacers tickets go on sale Tuesday, but only 1,000 fans can attend games starting next weekend.
"We're going to be looking at it from the perspective of crawl, walk, run - as an opportunity to do this safely and securely, but be able to increase those number little by little,” Lopez said. “We've used the early part of the season to make sure that we've got those processes and that training in place, and we feel good about where we are. But it's a constant, constantly evolving situation."
The Marion County Health Department currently allows 25 percent capacity, about 4,500 hundred people in the fieldhouse.