Fans will be back at the Green Bay Packers' training camp, but here's what changes you should know before you go
GREEN BAY – The Green Bay Packers will welcome fans back to training camp this week after a year lost to the coronavirus pandemic. Some things will be the same, some will be familiar but different, and some just won't be possible yet.
Here's what you need to know:
When to go
Training camp, which begins Wednesday, includes 12 free public practices and Family Night on Aug. 7, which requires tickets. That is three fewer practices than in 2019. The fewer practices are a result of the NFL eliminating one preseason game in favor of a 17-game regular season.
All practices begin at 10:10 a.m., but that can change. Also, if the weather is bad enough, practices could move indoors, in which case they will not be open to the public. Open practices at Ray Nitschke Field are scheduled for July 28-31, Aug. 2, 3, 5, 10-12, and 18-19.
COVID-19 safety protocols
Fans who want to watch practices must positively respond to COVID-19 health screening statements to enter designated seating or standing areas. Signs will be posted with the statements throughout the area. Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.
Masks and social distancing are not required of fans who are vaccinated, but the Packers ask that unvaccinated people follow COVID-19 safety precautions. With the delta variant increasingly running rampant through both the vaccinated and unvaccinated population, that is more than pro forma advice. The overwhelming majority — 97% — of people now being hospitalized with and dying of COVID-19 are unvaccinated.
Although most training camp interaction will be outdoors, the CDC recommends unvaccinated people wear masks when attending crowded outdoor events. Sitting in the stands at Ray Nitschke Field or crowding along the fences at the end of the field, would qualify.
Bicycling Packers players
Players riding bicycles to and from practice will be modified. The Packers will retain the form of the thing — players riding bikes — without its most endearing aspect, the interaction of players and kids.
NFL protocols require players and fans to be at least 20 feet apart. Many players will bike to practice along a fenced-off route. Fans can watch, but won't be allowed to get close to players.
That also means fans will not be allowed to approach players for autographs.
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Bicycling Packers fans
Related to the change in the bike event, the Packers and American Family Insurance will host the new DreamDrive from Home program, a charity bike event to raise money for We All Rise. Fans can register and pledge to ride a specific amount of miles on their own. For every mile they ride, American Family will donate $1 to We All Rise, a Green Bay-based organization committed to supporting the Black community through education, employment opportunities, secure housing, mental health services and more.
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Related venues and a reminder: no cash
The Lambeau Field Atrium, which includes the Pro Shop, 1919 Kitchen & Tap and Packers Hall of Fame, will be open daily. Johnsonville Tailgate Village will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the first four days of camp with limited food and drink menus.
Lambeau Field and all of its businesses are cashless. A cash-to-card machine is available in the Atrium.
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Bellin Health Bike Rodeo
The annual Bellin Health Bike Rodeo is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to noon on Thursday near the Oneida Nation Gate. The event includes free bike helmet fittings, a helmet giveaway and a bike safety course. The De Pere Police Department will conduct the rodeo.
Other family-oriented events will be available, including the Bellin Blitz, a health-focused event from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the Lambeau Field and Nitschke Field parking lots.
The Packers annual shareholders meeting will be at 11 a.m. Monday at Lambeau Field, rain or shine. Gates open at 9 a.m., and the Atrium will be open to shareholders and ticketed guests only until 2 p.m.
Contact Richard Ryman at (920) 431-8342 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at @rrymanPG or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardRymanPG/.