NY to Let Fans in Sports Stadiums and Arenas as Soon as February 23rd – The New York Times

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Several states have allowed sports fans inside venues during the pandemic, especially at outdoor stadiums for baseball and football. The Super Bowl at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Sunday had about 25,000 attendees, and Major League Baseball allowed fans into the later playoff rounds in Arlington, Texas, last season.

However, sports that take place outdoors have had far more fans than those indoors, in large part because public health officials have said it is easier to spread the virus indoors.

In the N.B.A., 11 of 30 teams are allowing a limited number of fans to observe games, a shift from last year when the league finished its season over the summer without fans at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla. The rules for attendance have varied by state. The New Orleans Pelicans are allowing fans to attend at 4 percent capacity, while the Houston Rockets are at 25 percent.

The Nets said on Wednesday that people who bought tickets would be mailed P.C.R. tests, which could then be shipped for overnight results, while Barclays Center employees are already tested on site.

“We’re very confident in our ability to do this safely. It’s been at the forefront of our concerns all along,” John Abbamondi, the chief executive of BSE Global, the parent company of the Nets and Barclays Center, said in an interview. “We have a very massive facility here and we’re going to be bringing a really small percentage of our capacity. We’re going to be testing not only every patron, but here at the Nets, we’re going to be testing every employee before every event.”

He added, “There’s nothing in life without risks, but when you look at our building at 10 percent capacity with everybody having come in having been tested, compared to going to a restaurant or something like that, I think it’s at least as safe, if not safer, than that.”

The Knicks and Rangers, which are both owned by James L. Dolan, said they intended to host about 2,000 fans at every game at Madison Square Garden starting with the Feb. 23 Knicks game against the Golden State Warriors and the Rangers’ game against the Boston Bruins three days later. It was not immediately clear whether the arena had received approval from the state to do so.

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