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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.

West End Stadium Nearing Completion, Ribbon Cutting Set For May 1

Cory Sharber
FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding discusses the LED fins on the exterior of the West End Stadium, which will light up for the first time in mid-March.

Construction on the West End Stadium is 93% complete.

FC Cincinnati has already sold more than 15,000 season tickets for the upcoming season at their new home. However, COVID-19 is still spreading and while fans will be allowed entry, the West End Stadium will be capped at 30% capacity of the 26,000 available seats.

Team President Jeff Berding said they aren't ready to announce the process to select which season ticket holders will be able to come to games.

"You have season tickets, you're coming to games," Berding said. "Obviously, it may be divided up a little bit, depending on what we're allowed. We can't sit here today and say we know we're going to be selling single game tickets or when. We don't know."

Credit Cory Sharber / WVXU

Social distancing plans for games at the West End Stadium haven't been submitted yet. However, they will be made closer to when the first home game takes place.

Faculty Operations Vice President Dan Lolli said this is to make sure the information is as up-to-date as it can be when the season starts.

"I can assure you the six-foot distancing rule that the CDC has put out there as their guidance is what we're following because it's the best information out there right now," Lolli said.

Social distancing markers will be placed throughout the stadium, including concession stands.

The LED fins at the stadium will light up for the first time in mid-March. Testing will begin on the 700-foot lighting feature over the next few days.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the stadium is planned for May 1.

FC Cincinnati is expected to play their first home game later that same month.

Credit Cory Sharber / WVXU
Team President Jeff Berding shows off FC Cincinnati's kit for next season.

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