Large stadiums and arenas in the state of New York can reopen for events with in-person fans starting Feb. 23, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday during a press conference in Albany.
Hockey, basketball, football, soccer and baseball games, as well as music concerts, stage shows and other performances, can all return to the venues with a total capacity of 10,000 or more, Cuomo said, adding that in-person attendance will be limited to 10 percent of capacity.
As reported by syracuse.com, all attendees will be required to test negative for Covid-19 through a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test within 72 hours of the event. Masks, social distancing and temperature checks will be required, as will assigned seating.
Venues holding events must collect contact information from attendees to aid contact tracing efforts, and facilities must also meet air filtration, ventilation and purification standards.
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn will be among the first venues to take advantage of the new rules, Cuomo said. The arena will reopen to fans for the Brooklyn Nets’ Feb. 23 against the Sacramento Kings.
“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.”
New York began moving toward reopening arenas and stadiums last month when it allowed thousands of fans at two Buffalo Bills home playoff games. All attendees were tested ahead of time.
Cuomo has said contact tracing after the games found no evidence they spread the coronavirus.