Although many venues are relaxing their COVID restrictions, there are still precautions you can take to minimize your risk at these venues, especially if you’re planning a special trip around a sporting event. 

Considering traveling to a spring or summer sporting event this year? You’re not the only one: Many people are looking to make up for long-lost lost travel time — and that includes travel to major sporting events.

As more and more sporting events relax COVID restrictions with regard to capacity limits and masking requirements, it seems as if we’re finally returning to a pre-pandemic normal. But there are steps you should still take to minimize your risk at these venues, usually known for boisterous spectators sitting shoulder to shoulder. After all, the only thing you want to be catching is a fly ball.

Whether its Monaco Grand Prix in May, London’s Wimbledon in June, The Tour de France in July, The British open in Scotland in July or another spectacle closer to home, here’s what you should consider from a health safety perspective.

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Are Sporting Events Safe From COVID-19?

Is any place officially safe from COVID-19? No. So don’t expect your chances of contracting COVID-19 at a sporting event — whether outdoor or indoor — being zero, either.

Even if you’re physically distanced, the fact that you’re potentially near other screaming fans can reduce the safety margin. Even when socially distanced, it can be a good idea to still wear a mask. “If it’s an indoor event, masks are highly recommended if you are concerned about COVID infection,” said David Koo, associate director of operations at Global Rescue.

[Related Reading: Crowd Safety Tips]

Is It Safe to Go If I’m Fully Vaccinated or Have Previously Been Infected?

“Vaccines are an important tool to help reduce the risk of infection and severe complications of COVID, regardless of which variant,” Koo said.

“We recommend anyone going to sporting events be fully vaccinated and/or recovered from COVID,” he added. Some countries mandate full vaccinations and will not accept proof of previous infection and recovery to attend these events, so it’s important attendees check with the event organizers ahead of time.

If you are immunocompromised, you should weigh the risks of spending time in crowds – sporting events included.

What Should I Consider Before Attending?

Before you storm the stadium, arena, speedway or track, here are a few aspects to pay close attention to ahead of time:

  • Is it indoors or out? Outdoor events are less likely to lead to infection because the air circulation is greater.
  • Research the safety measures being followed by the event organizers as they will all be different. Are they still enforcing social distancing or requiring masks? Do they require attendees to show proof of vaccination?
  • Do they accept cancellation and refunds? Particularly if you test positive for COVID-19 or come into close contact with a COVID-19-positive individual and can longer attend the event.

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What Else Can I Do to Reduce My Risk/Protect Others?

“The first and best line of defense: be fully vaccinated or fully recovered from a previous infection,” Koo said. Other steps include:

  • Pay attention to the level of COVID cases where you plan on traveling. The incidence could be high, and that should factor into your decision about attending a game there.
  • Take an at-home COVID test the day of the game if you feel unwell, even if the symptoms are mild, such as a scratchy throat. If you test positive, quarantine for five days.
  • Wear a well-fitted N95/KN95 mask or respirator when attending the event, and brush up on the CDC’s latest masking tips to ensure a proper fit.
  • Choose a seat away from a crowded section, if possible, or aim for at least one to two seats apart. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer and use frequently. According to the CDC, effective hand sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol.

[Related Reading: Coronavirus Travel Kit]

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In an increasingly challenging world, Global Rescue makes travel possible. Never has that been truer than in the age of COVID-19. Unlike other travel protection companies, our services are always available to handle COVID-19 cases. Curious about the terms? Review our Member Service Agreement: we do not make any distinctions between COVID-19 and other infectious diseases with respect to our services.