HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) — The Hershey Bears are set to begin the 2021-22 season this October with a regular length schedule. Part of that return to normalcy will be the reintroduction to a full capacity Giant Center crowd for the first time in 594 days.

When 10,500 fans pack Giant Center, the AHL and the Bears have implemented some policies to keep fans and the team safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Guidelines for fans

Mask/face covering policy

As of August, Bears owner Hershey Entertainment & Resorts has a mask recommendation for all indoor venues across its properties, including Giant Center.

All guests regardless of vaccination status are strongly encouraged to wear face coverings inside Giant Center. Guests are free to continue to wear face coverings anywhere on property if they choose to do so.

Are fans required to be vaccinated?

Fans wishing to attend a game inside Giant Center are not required to be vaccinated. Additionally, fans will not be asked to prove vaccination status. 

Sanitation protocol

Hershey Entertainment & Resorts “continues to maintain our enhanced cleaning, sanitization, and disinfection standards, which meet or exceed established industry guidelines.”

Cashless venue

There is one big change for fans looking to purchase merchandise, food or drinks. Giant Center is now a cashless venue. Merchants will accept all major credit cards.

Ticket options

Tickets available online for lowest price via Ticketmaster or during select hours at the Giant Center Box Office. Hours at GiantCenter.com. 

There are still limitations from the American Hockey League concerning fan interaction with the team. As of October, players will not be allowed to attend community events and cannot interact with the crowd face to face. Practice also remains closed to the public.

There are no limitations on where fans are allowed to sit in the stands at Giant Center.

“It is important that we all continue to remain vigilant and work together to prioritize the health and safety of those around us,” Hershey Entertainment & Resorts said in a statement this summer. “We appreciate our guests partnering with us in following all guidelines.”

Last season, attendance was severely limited due to guidance from the Pennsylvania state government, however, a few hundred fans were allowed to attend games.

The Bears plan to welcome a full capacity crowd at home games, starting with the season opener against the Charlotte Checkers on Saturday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m.