New Clear Bag Policy Beginning July 2018

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Rice Eccles Stadium Salt Lake City, Utah. Adam Fondren, Daily Utah Chronicle

By Jacqueline Mumford, Managing Editor

Beginning in July 2018, the University of Utah will only permit guests to bring clear bags to athletic events. The U is implementing the policy to address safety concerns.

Similar policies have been adopted at sports stadiums across the country  from university to NFL facilities. The majority of Pac-12 schools already have clear bag policies, including the University of Washington, Stanford University, UCLA, Arizona State and the University of California at Berkeley.

The new policy was adopted in an effort to minimize the time fans spend in security lines by making it easier for staff to quickly check bags, and it creates a safer environment at events.

While the guidelines may seem limiting, there are many different options for event goers. Patrons may bring clear bags no larger than 12 inches- by 6 inches- by 12 inches, which could mean anything from 1-gallon resealable plastic freezer bags to team logo bags that will be available for purchase at each venue. Seat cushions without pockets, diaper bags, jackets, blankets and small clutch bags have also been given the green light. Each guest is allowed a maximum of one large clear bag along with one small clutch.

Now banned from the U’s athletic events are backpacks, drawstring bags, fanny packs, large purses, camera cases, computer bags, duffel bags and grocery bags — anything that is too large or does not easily reveal its contents. When the U begins to enforce the policy, security guards will turn away guests with all of the previously listed items at the entry gates.

Not everything brought into the arena has to fit in a clear bag, however. Items like cell phones, cameras, tablets, keys and wallets may still be brought into venues, provided they are stored in a clear container, jacket or pocket. The policy is in accordance with the Department of Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” campaign, and it hopes to make suspicious items more easily detectable.

“We’re trying to harden the target,” said University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy. “Traditionally, these types of venues have been soft targets, where if you have a ticket, you come up, we cut it, take a brief evaluation of who you are and let you in. To harden the target, we’re putting more security measures in so our stadium, events and arenas are not picked by someone looking to do criminal activities.”

The U will begin to introduce the new policy throughout the upcoming season of athletics at the Huntsman Center and Rice-Eccles Stadium, and it will slowly be phased in until it goes into full effect next summer. While clear bags will not yet be required, fans are encouraged to begin to comply early. Those who pack a clear bag or other items adhering to the policy during the transition stage will be able to skip the long lines and will be directed to separate gates dedicated to those with approved items.

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