As COVID-19 vaccines become more accessible, fans lining up at Atlanta’s hottest venues

As the weather gets warmer, Atlanta’s sports teams are seeing their crowd sizes increase. Harry Wyman | The Signal

The City of Atlanta has recently experienced an influx of activity due to the COVID-19 vaccine being distributed worldwide. 

Several sporting events have opened their doors for full capacity audiences in arenas and stadiums all around the world and Atlanta is one of these cities.  Recent sporting events such as the boxing bout between Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders housed over 70,000 fans in Texas.

Many restaurants and public spaces are doing away with their mandate for masks, and this has caused more and more citizens to venture into Atlanta now that a sense of normalcy has started to return. 

Buildings such as State Farm Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium have opened their doors to fans to view live sporting events for the first time in 15 months. Atlanta United is hosting fans throughout this season and the Atlanta Falcons will host fans during the 2021 season. 

The Atlanta Hawks opened their doors to fans on Friday and Sunday for the third and fourth games of their first-round playoff series with the New York Knicks. 

Mercedes-Benz Stadium has also been a distribution site for vaccinations, and it has been highly convenient for Fulton County residents who cannot venture far out of the city.  The multi-use purpose of the Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been one of the significant reasons why Atlanta citizens feel normalcy because of the large number of crowds. 

The influx of citizens inside the city is also a result of the CDC announcing that fully vaccinated Americans no longer need to wear masks inside public buildings. The influx has affected the decision of American’s nationwide to wear masks as sports organizations such as the UFC no longer required their fans to wear masks inside of packed arenas. Their recent pay-per-view events were held in Florida and in Texas. 

Atlanta followed suit, hosting the Ben Askren versus Jake Paul boxing event on April 17 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Many celebrities such as Ice Cube, Justin Bieber, Saweetie and Doja Cat were in the city, which caused many tourists to venture down to Atlanta. 

Fans have also been attending Atlanta United games, and the employees are becoming reacclimated to seeing fans without masks. 

There is a difference of opinion in the stadium’s decision to lift the mandate, as some employees are a little hesitant to welcome back the big crowds. 

Mercedes-Benz stadium employee Demarquez Moreland is one of those who remain wary about people no longer having to wear masks. 

“No, I don’t like the fact that people don’t have to wear masks,” Moreland said. “I mean, there are a lot of people who still haven’t gotten the vaccine yet.” 

State Farm Arena employee, Josh Winbush, is excited about the return of the fans because of the frenetic energy the crowd can bring to the games. 

“It doesn’t really bother that the fans are back because most people are Vaccinated, and hopefully the remainder of the pandemic doesn’t affect future events from taking place at the arena,” Wimbush said 

The fans provide a fun and exciting atmosphere vital for the full enjoyment of live sporting events.

There are many to look forward to in the city of Atlanta this summer. Residents will finally be able to walk around freely with their friends and family members. After suffering for an entire year due to the pandemic, things will begin to feel normal again as we will be able to greet our loved ones with a smile and fully embrace without fear of catching the virus.