COVID-19 venues news: Nationals Park, Gillette Stadium and more

Nationals Park

Nationals Park, home of Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise the Washington Nationals, has been repurposed as a hub to cook and distribute thousands of free meals to those in need during the COVID-19 outbreak.

The initiative is a venture between World Central Kitchen (WCK), a not-for-profit non-governmental organisation founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, and the Nationals’ newly-formed charitable arm, Nationals Philanthropies.

The DC Eater website said the move has been made possible by the city making an exception under the stadium’s current lease deal by which Nationals Park is only supposed to be used for sports and entertainment purposes.

The first 1,000 meals went out yesterday (Tuesday), with production expected to ramp up to 5,000 by the end of the week and ultimately tens of thousands each day. “We are stewards of this public building — it’s not used to play baseball now, so how can we use it in the best way possible?” said Jonathan Stahl, vice-president of experience and hospitality for the Nationals.

“Partnering with WCK was a no-brainer. Our operations here are consolidated — we have very large kitchens and a lot of fire power where we can produce a lot of food quickly and efficiently.”

Gillette Stadium

Gillette Stadium, home of NFL American football team the New England Patriots, will host a series of blood drives.

Nine donation drives have been scheduled for April and May, with the first to take place on April 13. Gillette Stadium has teamed up for the venture with the Kraft Family Blood Donor Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham & Women’s Hospital.

The Patriots said in a statement: “Due to the coronavirus outbreak, hospitals across the globe have seen a severe shortage in blood donations. Donating blood has been deemed an essential service by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is still safe to donate blood during this pandemic and eligible and healthy donors are strongly encouraged to make a donation.”

Estadio Nacional

Costa Rica’s Estadio Nacional has been offered up as a COVID-19 response hub.

The 35,000-seat stadium is located in the capital city of San Jose and is a member of the Municipal Commission of Emergencies, which comprises the Ministry of Health, Fire Department and Red Cross, meaning it can be utilised as a first response shelter.

Minister of Sports, Hernan Solano, told local newspaper La Teja:Since it was built, it was thought that the Nacional could be utilised in the event of an emergency because the stadium has a hotel in which more than 400 people can enter, something that no other stadium in the country has.”

Solano also said the Nacional benefits due to its closeness to metropolitan hospitals.

National Arena

The Jamaican government has approved a plan for the National Arena to be repurposed as a field hospital during COVID-19.

The venue, which is part of Kingston’s Independence Park sports complex, will accommodate 72 beds with the Jamaica Defence Force drafted in to help the J$182m (£1.09m/€1.24m/$1.34m) transformation plan.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr Jacquiline Bisasor McKenzie, said the facility will be used as an isolation unit. She added, according to the Jamaica Observer newspaper: “It would be confirmed cases and mildly symptomatic persons. We are reserving the hospitals for moderate to severely ill persons.”

As of yesterday, Jamaica had a total of 59 positive tests for COVID-19.

Image: The Q Speaks