Twins to ban backpacks, big bags at ballpark; no more emptying pockets

Twins fans wait in long lines at Target Field.
Some Twins fans waited as much as an hour at the gates at the Twins game May 25, 2019, as a surge in fan interest and security screening has slowed entry into Target Field, sometimes to a crawl.
Nancy Lebens | MPR News

The Twins have a message for fans: leave your luggage at home.

The team is rolling out a new security policy that it will phase in over the next month. The most immediate change, starting Tuesday, will allow fans to keep personal items, like cellphones, keys and wallets, on them while going through security.

"Fans will be able to enter Target Field without emptying their pockets," says a summary of the policy from the Twins. The team says its magnetometers can distinguish between routine personal items and potentially dangerous weapons.

The security changes get tougher on July 5 when new bag restrictions take effect. The Twins say they will ban backpacks, laptop bags and duffel bags at Target Field. Fans can still bring in a purse, a diaper bag, totes and clear bags, but anything bigger than 16 by 16 by 8 inches is not allowed.

"Only single-compartment tote bags, clutch purses, clear bags, drawstring bags, diaper bags and medically necessary items will be allowed in the ballpark," the Twins said in a statement.

The Minnesota Twins are changing their security policy.
The Minnesota Twins are changing their security policy, with the first changes going into effect next week.
The Minnesota Twins

Target Field will continue to have security express lanes for fans who come to the game without a bag and "Sweet Spot" lanes for season ticket holders.

The policy change comes as the team's fortunes on the field have improved and security staff have struggled to get people quickly into the ballpark and screen out weapons and other dangers. Fans have reported waiting in big crowds on the plaza outside of the stadium — a potential safety risk in its own right, team officials have acknowledged.

"These changes, which are rooted in driving efficiencies within our security process, are designed to help improve ingress into Target Field, with the end result of getting our fans into the ballpark quickly and safely," team President and CEO Dave St. Peter said.

It's the latest in a steady tightening of security at large public venues, in the wake of incidents like the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 and the explosion at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, in 2017.

The Minnesota Twins are changing their security policy.
The Twins say they will ban backpacks, laptop bags and duffel bags at Target Field beginning next month. Fans can still bring in a purse, a diaper bag, totes and clear bags, but anything bigger than 16 by 16 by 8 inches is not allowed.
The Minnesota Twins

The NFL was first, implementing what it called a "clear bag policy" that is much more restrictive than the new Twins rules. That policy has been in effect for six seasons and only allows:

• Bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches.

• One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (zip-close bag or similar).

• Small clutch bags that are 4.5 inches by 6.5 inches, with or without a handle or strap, and may be carried into the stadium along with one of the clear bag options.

The NBA implemented similar bag restrictions during the 2017-2018 basketball season, and the Minnesota Wild and the NHL tightened bag restrictions last fall. Minnesota United opened Allianz Field stadium this spring with a "clear bag" policy for soccer games.

Many NCAA venues have also instituted similar measures.

The Twins say ticket holders can help the screening process by arriving early to games, so that ballpark entry for fans is more spaced out. The team is also offering a dedicated CLEAR lane for people enrolled in that biometric ID program.

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