In a recent statement from Andrew Cuomo, large New York stadiums and arenas will be able to reopen with in-person fans starting on February 23. Plenty of sports and events will be returning to these spaces, including music, football, soccer, basketball, hockey, and much more.
Cuomo says that these rules will only apply to event spaces that are under a 10,000-person capacity. These venues and event spaces will be allowed to reopen with a capacity of 10%.
There is one stipulation, however, and that is that attendees of these events will have to get tested with a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours prior to the event, which must read negative for them to enter the event.
Some other requirements will include temperature testing, social distancing, and face coverings. The event spaces will also be required to assign seating to their patrons. All of the events and venues will have to be approved by the State Health Department.
Attendees will need to have contact information collected ahead of time so that contact tracing efforts may go underway in the case that any cases arise post-event. All of the event spaces will need to meet the necessary requirements and standards for ventilation, filtration, and purification.
One of the first venues to take advantage of Cuomo’s new rules will be Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The stadium will open on February 23 for the Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets game.
“This hits the balance of safe reopening,” Cuomo said. “This is a difficult time on many, many levels. Personally it’s very difficult, emotionally it’s difficult, economically it’s difficult. But we are finding the balance and we are going to be the better for it.”
For Syracuse University, these new rules will be excellent news. The college is currently developing plans to bring 1,500 fans back to the Carrier Dome for the upcoming sporting events. John Wildhack, Syracuse’s athletic director, is saying that they could implement these new protocols very quickly and they are looking forward to doing so.
The first people to return will likely be the students.
The move to start allowing patrons to return to stadiums started this past month when New York allowed thousands of Buffalo Bills fans to attend one of the team’s playoff games. The attendees were given tests prior to the game.
Cuomo said that medical professionals performed contact tracing after the games and they did not find any evidence or coronavirus spreading. During his State address in January, Cuomo talked about using testing to reopen some of the state’s venues.
There are many other states who are still holding strong to their closing rules, California being one of the most prominent. New York will serve as a bit of a testing ground for these reopenings. If they go well, this could mean more reopening in other states.
All of this news comes only after a few weeks after Yankee Stadium and Citi Field became New York City testing and vaccination sites. The current positivity rate for coronavirus in New York City sits at 4.3%.