Carolina Panthers and germ-zapping robots prepare to welcome fans to Sunday home game

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 8:57 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - For the first time this season a limited number of fans will be allowed inside Bank of America Stadium on Sunday when the Panthers host the Arizona Cardinals. There will be lots of safety protocols in place, including three $125,000 “germ-zapping robots.”

Going by the Governor Roy Cooper’s order that 7% of capacity of large outdoor venues like Bank of America Stadium could be used, the Panthers will play in front of 5240 fans on Sunday at 1:00 pm.

Panthers owner David Tepper was hoping for around three times that many, but today team president Tom Glick said they’ll take what they can get.

“If in the future we’re able to have more fans, we know we’ll be prepared for that, but we’re just grateful to be going, going forward,” Glick said. “We think it does make a difference for our team, and for our fans, our fans are really looking forward to this.”

Keeping fans, players and everyone else safe has caused the Panthers to try something unique.

The LightStrike germ-zapping robot works by emitting bursts of intense, broad spectrum UV light that damages virus DNA and renders it useless. It’s being used all around the stadium in places like suites, locker rooms, weight rooms, and more.

“It is so fast," said Morris Miller, CEO of Xenex Disinfection Services. "The stadiums can disinfect Sars COVI2 in two minutes, that’s faster than anything they can use and using ne robot they can cover 5000-7000 square feet per hour, the Panthers have three, they can cover almost 20,000 square feet per hour.”

It’s the same technology used in operating rooms for cleaning.

“By the Panthers getting that robot they’re really making a commitment to player safety,” Miller added.

The Panthers believe all the tickets will be sold.

“We know that our fans will not only be looking forward to coming and enjoying the game, but also being responsible and helping us protect each other," Glick added. “We’re very happy to be beginning…this is a great first outing for us to work through all of the new protocols and all of the new systems.”

Fans will be required to wear face coverings inside the stadium and will not be permitted in without one. Fans will also be required to do a temperature check at the entrance gate, which must be below 100.4 degrees to enter the stadium. For social distancing, only season ticket holders will be allowed to visit the team store on game day.

The Honeywell company has implemented and will deploy an air-quality monitoring dashboard that tracks temperature, humidity and carbon-dioxide levels at the stadium.

Additionally, Honeywell has manufactured about 150,000 Panthers-branded PPE packs to be handed out to fans and staff this season. They also have made arrangements to have up to another 150,000 delivered as needed. The packs include a surgical mask, sanitizing wipe and a pack of hand sanitizer and will be administered before people enter into the stadium, as well as be available within the facility.

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