by: Carl Willis Updated:ATLANTA —
A new NFL policy restricting the types of bags and containers Falcons fans can bring into the Georgia Dome this year is off to a rocky start.
Clear plastic, vinyl and PVC bags in sizes up to 12-by-6-by-12 are the new requirement. Fans can still carry items in their pockets and small clutch purses are allowed, but not a regular size purse or large bag.
Clear bags with the NFL logo were given in exchange for a checked bag before Thursday's game. Women who brought purses to the dome had to check and leave them outside.
The Falcons will sell them as well. Fans are also allowed to bring a one gallon Ziploc bag or similar brand.
"All I want is to get to the game. I mean good gosh, I bought tickets for $500. This is stupid," John Wilkerson said.
Fans lined up at bag check stations before and after the game.
"Our bags are just sitting on a rack. There's going to be at least 10,000 people with bags here and it's sitting in the middle of the parking lot," Kimberly Love told Channel 2's Wendy Corona.
Vanita Jefferson said workers gave her purse to someone else.
"I was really upset about not getting my purse back because that was over a $200 purse and you don't get it back," Jefferson said.
The NFL, which released a statement referencing the Boston Marathon bombing as one of the reasons for the new policy, said the change will make for a safer environment and speed fans through the gates.
"With all of the terrorism going on we definitely need to be safe at all angles," said Falcons fan Lewis Roberts.
Some fans including Dianne Juhan embraced the change.
"I'm prepared," she said. "I brought something small, a clutch."
Items that are not allowed include purses larger than a clutch bag, diaper bags, coolers, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage of any kind, seat cushions, computer bags and camera bags.
"They're trying to do it for security but there is a fine line between invasion of privacy and what's good for the country," said Doug Lehr. "It could go both ways."
The exception to the policy is those people who need to bring in medically necessary items. Bags carrying those items will be inspected at the gate.