NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – New York sports fans will soon be able to see their teams in person for the first time in nearly a year. Governor Andrew Cuomo announced during his press briefing on Wednesday that major stadiums and arenas in the state will be able to open with limited capacity later this month.
The Brooklyn Nets will be among the first to welcome fans back under the new model for their February 23 game against the Sacramento Kings at Barclays Center. All fans wishing to attend will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of attending. Once in the arena, they will be assigned socially distant headquarters.
“As we continue to fight COVID on multiple fronts, we also need to reopen this economy in a smart and balanced way,” Cuomo said. “Live sports and entertainment have long been ingrained in the fabric of New York City and the inability to host events has only added to the isolation we all felt from this virus. Fortunately, our pilot program to reopen the Buffalo Bills games to fans has been an unprecedented success and now we are taking that model and expanding it to other large venues across the state not only to reinvigorate local economies but also to help bring fun and joy back to people’s lives in the safest way possible.
Sites with a capacity of at least 10,000 will be allowed to open with 10% capacity limits as of February 23. For the Nets, whose arena has a capacity of 17,700, that means around 1,700 fans will be allowed to attend. The Barclays Center has already obtained approval from the state Department of Health to reopen.
Other arenas, including Madison Square Garden and the Nassau Coliseum, will need to ensure they meet all DOH requirements before reopening the arena to fans. These requirements include:
- Obtain DOH approval for venues and events
- Institute a 10% capacity limit in arenas and stadiums
- Ensure all staff and spectators receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event
- Force face coverings, social distancing and temperature checks for everyone present
- Assigned mandate, socially remote headquarters
- Collect contact information from everyone present to help inform contact tracing efforts
- Meet improved standards for filtration, ventilation and air purification
- Ensure that retail, food service and sporting activities meet all state issued guidelines
Following Cuomo’s announcement at the press conference, the New York Islanders tweeted a statement saying they “can’t wait to welcome the best hockey fans back to the Coliseum.” The Islanders’ statement says tickets, when available, will go to season ticket holders first.
– New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 10, 2021