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Miami Heat Using COVID-Sniffing Dogs as Fans Return

Brock Fritz

The Miami Heat are taking one of the most unique approaches yet to welcoming fans back to stadiums amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to The Associated Press, the Heat will screen fans with coronavirus-sniffing dogs. Fans arriving at games will go into a screening area as dogs walk by. If the dog sits, it’ll be treated as a sign of the virus and the fan will be denied entry.

“If you think about it, detection dogs are not new,” Heat executive vice president for business strategy Matthew Jafarian said. “You’ve seen them in airports, they’ve been used in mission critical situations by the police and the military. We’ve used them at the arena for years to detect explosives.”

Fans uncomfortable with the dogs can opt to get a rapid antigen test, which is processed in less than 45 minutes. The dogs, which The AP reported have been used in several airports, have been in attendance for several Miami games during the early portion of the 2020-21 season, as the Heat have allowed some friends and family members to attend their 6-9 start.

While the Heat are capping attendance at 2,000 fans, some members of the general public will be allowed to return to AmericanAirlines Arena starting with Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Dogs will be one safety measure, along with limited capacity, limited concessions, social distancing, masks, cashless purchases, and a health screening questionnaire.

The NBA has postponed 19 games this month due to COVID-19.

Related content: Wizards Miss Sixth In Row as NBA Struggles With COVID

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