JACKSONVILLE – The goal is safety, and efficiency soon will follow.
That's the spirit of the game-day changes fans can expect at EverBank Field beginning Friday night at the Jaguars' 2013 preseason opener, and as those changes take effect, Jaguars President Mark Lamping had a message to fans:
"It's really important that fans try to get to the gates earlier than you have in prior years," Lamping said at a brief news conference outside EverBank Field Wednesday afternoon.
Lamping recommended fans arrive about 20 minutes earlier than they had previously.
"The most important thing we can do is make sure our fans feel comfortable, and that they have a very pleasant experience when they come here," Lamping said. "Part of that is feeling safe. It's the determination across the entire league that the implementation of this clear-bag policy will not only improve the safety and security of all of our guests, but that once people get used to it it will expedite the entrance into the stadium."
The Jaguars open the preseason against the Miami Dolphins at EverBank Field Friday at 7:30 p.m. Gates will open at 4:30 p.m.
Lamping spoke to remind fans about game-day policies implemented by the NFL for this season limiting the size and type of bags that may be brought into stadiums. While the team encourages fans to bring no bags, the following are permissible:
*Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12" x 6" x 12."
*One-gallon clear plastic freezer bags (Ziploc bag or similar).
*Small clutch bags, approximately the size of a hand, with or without a handle or strap, may be carried into the stadium along with one of the clear bag options.
An exception will be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection at a gate designated for this purpose, with prohibited items including, but not limited to: purses larger than a clutch bag, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, seat cushions, computer bags and camera bags or any bag larger than the permissible size.
Lamping said once fans begin using the clear bags, the absence of the need for bag-by-bag inspection will expedite the entry process to the stadium.
"Once our fans get used to it, what will happen is it will make it faster for you to get through the gates at EverBank Field," Lamping said. "Once we have the clear bags, that (inspection) part of the process will be eliminated."
Lamping also noted that this policy does not impact the Jaguars' food policy that was implemented last season. Under that policy fans may bring food into the stadium as long as is in a one-gallon clear plastic bag.