PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — After a full season of empty arenas, teams like the Providence Bruins, Providence College Friars, and University of Rhode Island Rams are looking forward to playing in front of a crowd again.
For fans going to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center or the Ryan Center, there are new rules in place.
Last year at this time, the Dunk looked a lot different with people going there to get tested for COVID-19 rather than watch a game or concert. Now, the floor is once again covered in ice as the Providence Bruins get ready for their home opener Saturday, Oct. 16.
Executive Director of the R.I. Convention Center Authority Daniel McConaghy said they are very excited they are reopening.
“This is what the building was intended for, to bring people in and help the economy, the restaurants, the hotels, and all the small businesses in Providence so it’s great to get back,” he explained.
The PC men’s basketball team will be back at the Dunk for the first time in front of fans since March 7, 2020, for a preseason game against Stonehill on Thursday, Oct. 21.
“In both cases with the Friars and the Bruins, the Department of Health has asked to work together with them to ask our patrons to wear masks at the events which we are happy to accommodate,” McConaghy said. “They have not asked us to check vaccine cards or come with a COVID test or anything of that nature but they will be asked to wear masks.”
Concession stands will be open as normal and both cash and credit cards will be accepted. The Dunk and Department of Health are also offering an incentive when you attend select events.
“You will have the opportunity to test when you come here if you’d like,” McConaghy said. “And if you have not had the opportunity to get a vaccine, we will have people here distributing them here as well so you can get your vaccine if you come to a game.”
For those looking for part-time work, the Dunk is hiring.
“We have security positions, and we have ushers, and those that work at the concessions that we need help,” McConaghy continued.
At URI, the Ryan Center is ready to welcome back basketball fans with the first game on Thursday, Nov. 4, but the first event with people inside the building was last weekend.
General Manager of the Ryan Center and Boss Ice Arena Leah Becki said they were honored to have had their first full arena event back with the class of 2020 commencement ceremonies.
“We can go full capacity, we do have a mask requirement in line with the entire university buildings and it must be worn while you are in the facility,” she explained. “On top of that, there are going to be guidelines for different types of events based on how many tickets we sold.”
Like the Dunk, concession stands are fully open at the Ryan Center and both cash and credit cards will be accepted.
“I think back to our very last event here which was a 9 p.m. men’s basketball game against Dayton, number 3 in the country they were at that time, this and this place was going crazy and we are going to be back there,” Becki recalled.
The Ryan Center is also looking to hire for part-time help.
“Through the process, we had to furlough some people at that time and I was lucky enough to bring back all those positions so we have filled our full-time positions but we have a need for part-time staff and we actually need more people because of the guidelines so come on out join our team we have a lot of fun here.”
Rules and guidelines in both areas could change depending on how COVID case numbers are doing.
Mobile ticketing is also being phased in at both arenas and there will be grab-and-go concessions available for those who prefer less contact.