In New York, some massive arenas will be reopened
New York will be able to open stadiums and large venues with a capacity of 10 percent from the end of this month, almost a year after its closure, the state governor said on Wednesday.
The Barclays Center will oversee the partial reopening when it hosts spectators for the Brooklyn Nets game against the Sacramento Kings in the NBA on February 23.
It is the first time in 352 days that the networks have played in front of fans due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Andrew Cuomo said that any venue with more than 10,000 people can be 10 percent busy, including music and theater.
The Barclays Center seats 17,700 spectators during normal hours.
“It hits the balance of a safe reopening,” the governor told reporters.
Viewers must provide evidence that they tested negative in a PCR test performed no later than 72 hours prior to the event.
They will also have their temperature taken when entering the arena and must wear a mask throughout the event and respect social distancing.
The plan follows a successful test in January, when 6,700 spectators attended a Buffalo Bills game in the NFL.
All fans had to test negative before they were allowed to sit in the stadium with 71,600 seats.
Several US states already allow large venues for the public, notably Florida, where the Super Bowl was held on Sunday in front of 25,000 spectators.
Cuomo did not provide information on the status of venues with a capacity of less than 10,000.
Nor did he say when the New York Knicks, a rival of the networks, could play their first game in front of fans at their 20,000-seat home in Madison Square Garden.
Cuomo banned all gatherings of more than 500 people on March 12, 2020 as the pandemic began to devastate New York. Covid-19 has killed more than 45,000 people in the state.
The governor said New York’s positivity rate fell for 33 consecutive days, falling from 7.94 percent on Jan. 4 to 4.31 percent on Tuesday.
tu / pdh / ft