News & Politics

The Capitals Are Finally Playing in Front of an Actual Crowd. Here’s What to Expect If You’re Going.

Photo by David Tran, via iStock.

For the first time in over a year, the Washington Capitals will play a home game in front of fans against the New York Islanders tonight. The game will be limited to 10% capacity or 2,100 fans, in accordance with guidelines set by the office of the Mayor, DC’s Health Department, and the DC Homeland Security and Management agency. Many tickets for tonight’s games were reserved for hundreds of frontline workers in recognition for their efforts during the pandemic. Remaining tickets were first offered to season ticket holders.

For those fans heading to the arena, here’s what you can expect.


The garage at Capital One Arena won’t be open to the public for parking tonight, so it’d be best to plan ahead. For help with parking, Capital One Arena has partnered with Spot Hero, an online service that helps identify nearby parking garages. If you head to their website or app, you can find close parking and the accompanying prices.

Keep what you bring to a minimum! Bags and items larger than 14” by 14” by 6” are not allowed in the arena. Anything you’re holding or items in your pockets will go through X-ray machines.

Tickets are mobile-only meaning paper tickets will not be accepted, so make sure you have the right app, which depends on where you got your ticket, downloaded and pulled up.

COVID Protocol

Face masks will, of course, be required at all times for fans over the age of 2. Neck gaiters, bandanas or face masks with valves or vents are not acceptable and will not be considered compliance with this requirement. Masks are expected to stay on at all times, except during short periods of time where a fan may be eating. If a fan is found to be in repeated, noncompliance of the face mask police, they could be removed from the arena.

Upon entering the arena, fans will also have to answer a couple of questions as a part of a health screening. Some of these questions touch on symptoms one may have like a fever or a runny nose and whether a visitor has been in close contact with anyone that has recently had COVID.

At the Game

Tickets for the game were sold or distributed in groups of one to four seats, which are staggered throughout the arena, in order to keep people six-feet apart. Fans will be expected to stay in these seats for the majority of the game, only moving to rise for the national anthem, go to the restroom, or get food.

Concession stands at tonight’s game will offer fans pre-packaged, quick-bite options, and fans will be expected to eat only at their seats. Concession stands will offer and encourage cashless, touchless options for paying, though they will also take cash. Fans can also get food and beverages at their seats from roving sales teams, but they won’t take cash. Alcoholic beverages will be offered, but these sales will be discontinued at concession stands midway through the second period.

The Team Store will also not be open tonight, but there will be some pop-up locations available during the game.