Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center arena, home of the NBA’s 76ers and the NHL’s Flyers, has been awarded the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management, boosting hopes that fans will be able to attend games this season.

The International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) awards the WELL Health-Safety Rating, which assesses new and existing building policies, protocols and emergency plans to address pandemic challenges and broader health and safety issues.

A number of major buildings and venues around the world are enrolled on WELL programmes, including the Empire State Building, Yankee Stadium and AT&T Stadium. Wells Fargo Center becomes the first events venue in the state of Pennsylvania to be awarded the WELL Health-Safety Rating.

Currently, neither the 76ers nor the Flyers are welcoming fans to home games at Wells Fargo Center, although the Flyers are admitting a frontline worker family to the arena in recognition of their efforts during the pandemic.

Wells Fargo Center has been recognised by the IWBI following significant health and safety advancements, including a recently completed $11m (£8m/€9.2m) upgrade of its HVAC system with best-in-class filtration that completely replaces all the air in the arena’s seating bowl every 30 minutes.

Other steps include new systems to reduce contact points between staff and guests, new technology to support contactless ticket scanning and concession transactions, and crowd management protocols.

Valerie Camillo, president of business operations for the Flyers and Wells Fargo Center, said: “The health and safety of our guests, employees, athletes and entertainers is our top priority – that’s why we’ve been working around the clock to ensure Wells Fargo Center is ready to welcome fans back later this year. Receiving the WELL Health-Safety Rating is an incredible achievement that shows our fans that we’re committed to rigorous standards for health and safety.

“We know how much this building means to the entire city and the memories it creates for so many people. On top of this rating, we’re going to continue to follow the guidance of public health officials at the city, state, and national levels so that we’re ready to welcome fans back to Wells Fargo Center for hockey, basketball, concerts and more later this year. The WELL Health-Safety Rating, along with our extensive health and safety efforts, puts us on the path to bringing our fans and part-time workers back as safely and as soon as possible.”

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