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Rupp Arena set to reopen Wednesday with restrictions

Posted at 1:25 PM, Nov 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-23 17:39:30-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — After eight months of shuttered doors, Rupp Arena is set to reopen for events just in time for the University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Bluegrass Showcase Wednesday night.

The Central Bank Center has been under renovation during the pandemic causing all traffic for arena events during the winter season to be funneled through the West Entrance on High Street across from Gate 2 parking.

"After 44 years of entering on the east side of the building, this season everybody must enter on the west side of the building between the arena, and the new exhibit hall which is under construction," Central Bank Center President and CEO Bill Owen explained.

Although capacity is only at 15 percent, there will still be up to 3,000 ticketed guests coming through one entrance. Owen said social distancing is up to the patrons to enforce.

"People [need to] take responsibility as they're approaching the building to distance until they can get in the building," he said. "In terms of adequate spacing, once you're in the building, we'll have security staff that will reinforce that as people's temperatures are being taken."

Other requirements as patrons enter the building include temperature checks and mobile scan ticketing to cut down on contact.

Regarding contact tracing, Director of Rupp Arena Management Carl Hall said it will all track back to the mobile ticket.

"We would reach out to the person who purchased to discuss with the guests that he or she may have brought with them," he said. "So, it's all done through the ticketing system. [It is] why it's set up on mobile ticketing; [it is] why it is set-up to why you can't transfer except through Ticketmaster."

Owen said the decision as to whether the arena will offer concessions will be made after consulting Monday with Gov. Andy Beshear's office.

Owen said he expects the Lexington Center/Central Bank Center renovations to be completely ready by January 2022. He added that some improvements to the Exhibit Hall Ballroom will be ready by spring of 2021.

He added that he hopes the building's calendar of events to gradually return soon, which will allow for some furloughed employees to get back to work.

"We've prepared to address that, and reawaken once things get back to normal," he said.

A full list of events and new COVID-19 restrictions can be found here.

"We're excited to put the building back to work," Owen said. Basketball, concerts, whatever we can do. I mean we're in the business of doing advanced, and it's after being essentially shuttered for eight months. It's nice to have something scheduled."