Bag check: Saints revise safety policy, ban more containers

Be warned — just because you could bring it to New Orleans Saints games last year doesn’t mean you’ll be able to bring it this year.

As part of an enhanced public safety policy for NFL games this year, fans will be prohibited from bringing the following into stadiums, including the Mercedes-Benz Superdome: purses, bags or containers larger than a small clutch bag; coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, any kind of luggage, computer bags and camera bags.

Fans, however, can bring vendor bags that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12 inches by 6 inches by 12 inches (the bags may be hand-carried or have a shoulder strap). They can bring a one-gallon clear plastic freezer bag, such as a Ziploc-brand bag, too.

They can also bring a small clutch bag about the size of a hand, with or without a handle or a strap. This can be carried separately from or within a plastic bag.

Exceptions will be made for items that are medically necessary after inspection at Gate A on the ground level and Gates D and H on the plaza level of the Superdome.

The policy, which will be in effect starting with the Saints’ first preseason game against the Kansas City Chiefs on Friday, should make it faster for fans to enter games, according to the NFL, which said it is strongly discouraging people from bringing any kind of bags to games.

The NFL acknowledged it adopted the new policy in part because of the bombings at the Boston Marathon in April, which killed three race spectators and injured more than 260 others. However, the NFL said it had started discussing updated bag restrictions prior to the bombings.

The NFL said other types of events are limiting bags. In fact, the University of Michigan, Penn State and Michigan State do not even permit bags, the league said.

“The pat downs and metal detector screenings of all individuals entering NFL stadiums provide an additional level of safety for fans,” the league said on its website. “The limitations on bag size and style is a further enhancement for convenience and safety.”