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SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament begins today in Nashville; what you need to know

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Posted at 6:35 AM, Mar 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-10 23:32:24-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — The SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament begins here in Nashville today – a big step in our city's rebound from the pandemic. But for guests and the teams, there are some big changes this year.

This tournament will look different for guests than in the past. For one thing, it’s at 20% capacity, just like at Nashville Predators games.

For guests, doors will open an hour before each session. You are encouraged to get there early to limit people gathering at the doors. If you forget any of the policy changes, you will be reminded by signs.

Masks are not negotiable – the only time you can have it off is when you are eating and drinking, which can only be at your seat.

The seats themselves are split into pods of one to six seats that are six feet apart from other pods. Leaving the game also will look different. First, they'll exit even sections then odd to limit people gathering in elevators and escalators.

Nashville Mayor John Cooper hopes this tournament is a sign of more big events to come.

“This is a first major step of back to normal for Nashville. We've got schools open, we've got the SEC tournament back, life is good,” said Mayor Cooper. “We're not only going to rebound but we're going to be back to normal much more quickly than people had worried about.”

Usually, the teams have multiple gyms they can practice at or they're able to schedule a time with a school in the area, but that has all changed. Now they are assigned practice times based on their seed and it’s either at Vanderbilt or Bridgestone Arena.

The first game is tonight at 6 p.m. between Vanderbilt and Texas A&M.