Levi's Stadium opens door to excited fans for first preseason game of the year

Levi's Stadium will be packed Saturday as the 49ers host their first preseason game against the Chiefs. It is the first time in a year and a half that the stadium will be full. 

There will be some challenges, thanks to COVID, and to a light rail system that is currently down.

Stadium officials are asking fans to give themselves extra time to navigate traffic and the new rules here at the stadium.

"Oh, it's going to be a mess. Without the light rail, it's going to be a mess trying to get in there," said fan Dan Alipaz.

Light rail is still down, following a tragic shooting in May. The Santa Clara Valley Transit Authority is offering bus service instead, from Milpitas, Mountain View and downtown.

However, they can only accommodate 2,000 people, instead of their typical 8,000.

"We realize these plans are a little more complex than usual, just getting on a light rail station and going directly to the stadium. However, we're trying to do the best we can with what we have for now," said Stacey Hendler Ross, public information officer for VTA.

Stadium officials are confident fans will figure it out.

"We tend not to be worried because we've done this before, but we are concerned sometimes that people don't remember some of the policies or the procedures. So what we're asking is for people to be a little more patient, come a little bit earlier," said Jim Mercurio, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Levi's Stadium.

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Levi's Stadium will be keeping contact to a minimum with automated turnstiles and cashless concessions due to COVID. 

While masks are not required in the stands, they are required when you go indoors.

"Don't test it. Just be mindful and appreciative of the fact that when you're going indoors, it's a requirement," said Mercurio.

Santa Clara police have been gearing up for game day too, preparing to help 68,500 fans follow the rules.

"We want to make sure everybody is respectful of one another, not only with the rules and regulations that happen in a venue like this, but also with the health and safety precautions as well," said Wahid Kazem, Assistant Chief of Santa Clara police.

Fans said they are ready and glad the wait to sit in those stands is finally over.

"You feel everybody's enthusiasm, everybody's excitement. It's incredible," said fan Kent Eskelsen.

"We've missed out way too much on interaction with others. So I'm definitely looking forward to being here tomorrow," said fan Syndee Grigoleit.

The 49ers take on the Chiefs tomorrow at 5:30. People who take the VTA bus service and enter all the indoor sections at the stadium should come early and bring a mask.