Jags fans enjoy fanfare of first game without crowd restrictions since pandemic began

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The party started early for many Jaguars fans Saturday who were eager to enjoy the team’s first preseason game of the year and get their first glimpse of rookie QB Trevor Lawrence in action against the competition.

Tailgates were set up all across Lot J with quite a few games of cornhole going.

A few people said it was their first Jags game in a year because of the pandemic.

“I didn’t get a chance to go to the games last year, so it’s a new experience, I’m hoping,” Ronald Wright said.

As soon as you walked up to the stadium, you could hear the precautions in place:

  • Masks are recommended for unvaccinated guests.

  • Those most vulnerable to COVID-19 should take precautions.

  • Certified disinfection specialists in blue vests will actively clean on game day.

  • And hand sanitizing stations are set up throughout the stadium.

“I will follow whatever they need me to follow,” Daniel Belanger said. “It’s their right to vaccinated if they choose too. I think it’s going to be just fine.”

The last major event at the stadium was two weeks ago for the Hella Mega Tour. More than 30,000 fans were there. After the concert, one of the bands announced they’d be skipping the next few tour dates, after an individual on the team tested positive for COVID-19.

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said indoor events pose more risk than outdoor events, though the number of people can increase exposure.

Fans try to think positively about their safety.

“I hope they mask up,” Wright said. “I hope everybody goes and gets their shot.”

“I’m going to have my mask on, yes,” Carol Alexander said.

Here’s what one fan says about their safety ahead of Saturday’s game against the Cleveland Browns:

“I definitely feel safe. I’ve got my vaccine. Everybody here’s got the vaccine. So we’re definitely feeling safe and we’re excited about the year.”

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