New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that beginning February 23rd, limited fans will be permitted to attend sporting events in stadiums and arenas. This applies to venues with a capacity of over 10,000 people.
In his decision to allow fans, Cuomo cited the two Buffalo Bills playoff games with limited attendance. The games didn’t cause a spike in COVID-19 cases, leading to the decision to open all sports venues.
The state is allowing 10% capacity to games with assigned socially-distant seating. Fans must have a negative COVID-19 PCR test to gain entry to any venue and must wear face coverings at all times. Additionally, stadium staff will conduct temperature checks at entrances.
Each game with attendance needs to be approved by the state, and teams are already beginning that process. Both the Knicks and Nets will each welcome around 2,000 fans to their home games beginning right on the 23rd. The Rangers will allow fans to games beginning February 26th, and the Islanders are expected to follow suit. Up in Buffalo, the Sabres are also expected to allow fans.
Come springtime, teams will also be allowed to welcome fans to outdoor events, including baseball and soccer. Outdoor events are less likely to transmit the virus, and those venues can seat more fans.
With fans returning to the stands, it’s a step in the right direction towards normalcy. As more and more people become vaccinated, attendance will likely increase as the COVID-19 transmission rates goes down. Hopefully by fall, COVID-19 will be a thing of the past and attendance will be back at 100%.