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As a new strain of coronavirus (COVID-19) swept through the world in 2020, preparedness plans, masking policies and more public policy changed just as quickly. WVXU has covered the pandemic's impact on the Tri-State from the very beginning, when on March 3, 2020, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine barred spectators from attending the Arnold Sports Festival in Columbus over concerns about the virus, even though Ohio had yet to confirm a single case of COVID-19.

Bengals Letting More Fans Attend Home Games, With Restrictions

Ann Thompson

Updated Wednesday, 12:31 p.m. 

The state of Ohio will now allow for 12,000 spectators at future Cincinnati Bengals games.

According to a release from the Bengals on Wednesday, the increase in capacity is due to fans following the safety recommendations at the home game on Oct. 4, which included wearing masks and remaining socially distanced.

Last Sunday, 6,000 fans were allowed to watch the Bengals face the Jacksonville Jaguars at Paul Brown Stadium.

Fans were divided into four seating zones, which contain 1,500 people each.

Tickets are being sold in bundles of two to six seats. All tickets will be taken on mobile phones to support contactless entry. They will be accessible through the official Bengals app.

Fans will have to remain socially distanced when using the bathroom and going to concessions. Fans can use Apple Pay, Google Pay or tap-to-pay options for contactless payments.

Face coverings are mandatory and must be worn at all times, except while eating or drinking.

Fans are recommended to not attend if they have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks. High-touch areas in the stadium will be cleaned before, after and during the game. Tailgating will also be prohibited.

Cory Sharber attended Murray State University majoring in journalism and political science and comes to Cincinnati Public Radio from NPR Member station WKMS.