Olympic spectators should arrive at venues two hours ahead of their event and be prepared to wait as they pass through airport-like security that includes metal detectors and X-ray screening for bags.
Each spectator will take between 30 seconds and a minute to pass the screening, organizers said yesterday, during a sneak peek of venue security.
“Get here early, get here on time,” said Jan Damnavits, VANOC’s director of venue management.
“If everybody arrives at the last minute, a half hour before the competition starts … we’ll get into problems. They won’t make it in.”
For mountain events (at Whistler, Cypress and the Callaghan Valley), spectators should arrive three hours early. The gates will open four hours ahead of the opening and closing ceremonies.
In addition to arriving early, spectators should carry as little as possible. Large golf umbrellas are banned, as are food and beverages at city venues (plastic water bottles are allowed at mountain venues).
The security screening will be carried out by a staff of 5,000 personnel, operating under the supervision of the Vancouver 2010 Integrated Security Unit (ISU).
RCMP Staff Sgt. Michel Côté, a spokesman for the ISU, said his advice to spectators is simple:
“If there is something you wouldn’t take on a commercial airliner, don’t take it to a venue. … That means no knives, no guns, no explosive substances.”
The security is typical of recent Olympic Games, Damnavits added.
In order to speed up the process, those carrying nothing or bags smaller than a “loaf of bread,” can take advantage of an express line that has a metal detector, but no X-ray screener. Bags and purses would be checked by hand.
A third line will screen people in wheelchairs or pushing strollers with young children.
The ISU is headed by the RCMP and made up of almost 6,000 officers.
Of those, 1,700 officers will be seconded from 118 police departments across the country. They will wear the uniforms of their home departments.