Green Bay Packers fans should be aware of these changes when they return to Lambeau Field Monday
GREEN BAY – Packers fans eagerly awaited a return to Lambeau Field after being locked out during the 2020 season, but they might need more patience once they get there for Monday night's game.
Many fans will be using the new mobile ticketing system for the first time and there could be delays getting into the stadium. Plus, the concession contractor expects to have a shortage of workers for the game.
The Packers play the Detroit Lions at 7:25 p.m. Monday.
One hour before game time, fireworks will go off around the stadium to get fans' attention. Messages and announcements will then encourage them to go to the gates listed on their tickets.
Fans are advised to have tickets downloaded and ready to be scanned before getting in line at the gates, said Aaron Popkey, Packers director of public affairs. The Packers will have staffers at the gates to assist people having problems getting tickets to work.
The mobile ticketing process is explained, with text and videos, at packers.com/tickets/mobile-ticketing.
"The app works really well and those who transitioned to it talked about how convenient it is," Popkey said.
Tickets can be scanned two ways: either with the bar code on the ticket or from an individual phone's wallet. A mobile wallet is an app on a mobile device that, much like a real wallet, can store credit and debit card information and other things, such as game tickets.
Popkey said scanning tickets in a wallet is preferred because it would not require the phone to have an internet connection.
"If thousands of people are on the WiFi, there could be delays," he said.
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Screenshots of the bar code cannot be used, as a way to transfer tickets, for example, because the bar code continuously updates as a means to deter counterfeiting.
Concessions and staffing
Staffing is an ongoing issue for Packers games, especially in concession stands, which are operated by Delaware North. A fully staffed operation would have 900 workers. Normally, the stadium's concessionaire gets by with 700. For the Monday night game — weeknights and holidays are the hardest to staff — they have about 550 workers.
Delaware North, which has a large professional sports presence in the Midwest, will bus employees from St. Louis, Chicago and Minneapolis to make up the difference.
"We are going to have some moments where (service) might take a little longer," Popkey said. "We found through preseason that people have been very understanding."
The Packers traditionally staff concessions stands with volunteers from nonprofit organizations. The organizations are paid for the work their volunteers do. The ebb and flow of interest from those nonprofits, as well as the effects of COVID-19, have made getting adequate numbers of workers more difficult.
Groups or individuals looking to work concessions at games can all Delaware North at 920-965-3737.
The Packers over the past two years converted some concession stands to the grab-and-go variety, including five Fox River Market stands, which require fewer workers and allow fans to check out for themselves.
Fans get through the grab-and-go stands faster than visiting traditional concessions stands, said Heath Barbato, general manager for Delaware North at Lambeau Field and Titletown District.
"People are creatures of habit. They get used to it and it gets you back to your seat faster," he said.
Because of the staffing shortage, five concessions stands will be closed Monday, although mobile vending carts might be in those areas to help fill the gap.
Vending carts will be seen in other places as well because vendors no longer will be in the stands. That's because Lambeau Field is cashless and there is no effective way to perform credit card purchases in the seats.
Popkey said fans should have their credit cards, debit cards or electronic payment devices ready to go if they plan on making purchases. The Packers do have a cash-to-card vending machine in the Lambeau Field Atrium as a last resort.
Fans are not required to be vaccinated or to wear masks, although the latter is strongly encouraged in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. In short, the Packers recommend fans wear masks when indoors, whether they are vaccinated or not, and fully vaccinated people might choose to wear a mask in crowded outdoor settings if they or someone in their household is immunocompromised.
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Suites with open windows are considered open areas.
Lambeau Field COVID-19 information is available at packers.com/community/covid.
Contact Richard Ryman at (920) 431-8342 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @RichRymanPG, on Instagram at @rrymanPG or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RichardRymanPG/.