NY sports stadiums, arenas opening at 10 percent capacity this month

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Large sports stadiums and entertainment arenas in New York will be able to open with limited capacity this month — with a Brooklyn Nets game among the first to welcome back fans, Gov. Cuomo announced Wednesday.

Patrons will be required to produce a negative COVID-19 test beforehand under the new model.

The relaxed restrictions follow what Cuomo called the “unparalleled success” of the Buffalo Bills game last month, when 7,000 fans underwent COVID tests in order to attend the home-game thriller in person.

Venues with at least a 10,000-person capacity will be allowed to reopen with a 10 percent capacity limit starting Feb. 23.

Brooklyn’s Barclays Center will be among the first to employ the new model on Feb. 23, when the Nets square off against the Sacramento Kings.

The arena has a capacity of about 17,700 seats for basketball games, meaning about 1,700 fans will be allowed in.

Other eligible venues include hockey, football, soccer, baseball, music and performances stadiums and arenas.

Patrons must get a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the event in order to enter, and there will be assigned, socially-distant seating.

“If you’re negative you are negative, so the testing is the key,” Cuomo said at a press conference. “We are now going to extend the Buffalo Bills example.”

Currently, Yankee Stadium and Citi Field are being used as mass vaccination sites — which will have to be rethought ahead of Opening Day, Cuomo said.

“Yes, we’ll work with the teams and the facilities where these teams play and the venues to work out arrangements to ensure the vaccination efforts are still ongoing in these neighborhoods and these communities and there’s no delay in the vaccine program,” Gareth Rhodes, a member of Cuomo’s COVID-19 Response Task Force, added.

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