The NFL 2020 season is scheduled to start on September 10, and while football fans are excited to see the sport return, it’s up to the NFL’s staff and players to figure out the safest way to do that amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Seattle Seahawks recently shared details about how they expect to safely return. The NFL team and its staff partnered with biometrics tech company CLEAR to use its Health Pass COVID-19 screening tool upon entry to the Virginia Mason Athletic Center training facility, as well as CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks are reportedly the first NFL team to use the tool.
To use Health Pass, players, coaches and staff will need to download the CLEAR app and set up an account with identifying documents and a personal photo. Next, the user will open the app when entering VMAC or CenturyLink Field, verify their identity with a selfie and then fill out a health screener. Doing this will give the user a green or red signal, which then allows or prevents them from entering the facility. The whole process is touchless in the sense that it lets players and staff use their own device, and provides an extra layer of security.
The Health Pass is also used by the National Hockey League in order to ensure players are healthy. Applications of the screening tool go beyond sports too, helping people return to offices or other public places.
New York-based CLEAR is perhaps most well known for its airport booths that allow travelers to make it through security quickly. The company was founded after the September 11 attacks, and uses biometrics — like facial recognition and fingerprints — to verify a person’s identity.
CLEAR and the Seahawks have had a partnership since 2018. Since then, visitors at CityLink Field have been able to use the company’s booths to get through security faster, or verify their age and payment information at vendors.
“As we implement necessary measures for a safe return to football, Clear’s Health Pass offers an innovative, easy-to-use screening tool that will assist us in our enhanced health and safety protocols to protect the well-being of everyone who enters our buildings,” Chip Suttles, the Seahawks’ VP of technology, said in a statement.