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Arrowhead Stadium at 22% Capacity is Still 22% Too Full

The Kansas City Chiefs are planning on opening up Arrowhead Stadium to fans at a limited capacity. It's a bad idea, and it welcomes an avoidable problem.

Americans have been belligerently unwilling to accept even the smallest, most fabric-thin of daily concessions to slow the spread of a virus for almost half a year now. With that knowledge, why would we have expected ourselves to be willing to make any big, important, can’t-live-without-it sacrifices like watching a football game on TV instead of in a stadium with thousands of other people?

At least for their first three home games, the Chiefs are planning on opening up Arrowhead Stadium to fans at a limited capacity. That limit is 22%. That 22% will be made up of separate pods of seats for individual groups of up to six people.

There will be rules. Fans will be required to maintain social distancing anywhere a line may form. Fans will also be required to wear masks, as long as they are not eating or drinking. City of Kansas City Health Director Dr. Rex Archer and EMS Medical Director Dr. Erica Carney approved this plan.

Arrowhead Stadium, at 22% capacity, is roughly 16,000 people. Archer is confident in the Chiefs’ plan, but admitted it isn’t foolproof. How many fools would you assume you’d find among 16,000 human beings?

I work retail. We have a reduced max capacity of around 60. At our busiest, we’ve got no more than 30 customers at a time. Mostly, there’s a steady average of 15-20. Even at that number, we can’t get everyone to stay six feet apart and wear their masks properly for the entire half-hour they might be in the store. Apparently, the Chiefs have cracked the code to get 800 times that number of people to follow those rules for eight times as long.

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I’m aware Arrowhead is much larger than a retail store. I’m simply suggesting that any thought of 16,000 Chiefs fans following these rules is absurd.

Filling 22% of the stadium ostensibly guarantees COVID-19 will enter Arrowhead during each of the first three home games. The Chiefs were given the opportunity to spin a 2020 season roulette wheel with zero skull-and-crossbones on it. They decided to add a bunch of them for the chance of bringing in one-fifth of the ticket revenue they normally would.

Of course, that’s under the assumption that tickets will remain normally priced. Which is, admittedly, a supremely stupid assumption. The Arrowhead Pandemic Experience is more likely to be 22 times the normal price than it is 22% of it.

A year of inconvenience was all that was asked of us. In response, we’ve spent the last six months either trying to cobble together ways to experience half-versions of the things we’re used to, or ignoring it completely and going to the beach.

I say this as someone who’s going to go the movies as soon as they reopen in his town; we’re all dumb. We’ve been overstimulated and spoiled and can’t live without massaging our opulent whims. Going outside and coughing on each other is our rebellious expression of freedom. The Chiefs are offering the tickets. What do you want us to do, say no?

Fans in Arrowhead next month pretty much assures an avoidable spread of the virus, the only question is how bad it'll be. But, hey, that $37 hotdog isn’t going to eat itself.