New York Gov. Cuomo says Barclays Center, other large arenas in the state, can reopen starting Feb. 23

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks to reporters during a news conference at a COVID-19 pop-up vaccination site in William Reid Apartments in Brooklyn, New York City, U.S., January 23, 2021.
Altaffer | Reuters

Large stadiums and arenas in New York can reopen beginning Feb. 23 with limited capacity if preapproved by the state’s department of health, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday.

Stadiums that seat 10,000 or more people will be limited to 10% capacity and everyone entering the buildings must present a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of the event, he said. Face coverings, social distancing and temperature checks upon arrival also will be required, Cuomo said.

The first major event that has already been approved by state health officials will take place at New York City’s Barclays Center, where the  Brooklyn Nets will play against the Sacramento Kings on Feb. 23, Cuomo said.

“Any large stadium or arena — hockey, basketball, football, soccer, baseball, music shows, performances — any large arena can open on Feb. 23,” Cuomo said at a press briefing.

Source: The State of New York

This will be the first time since mid-March, when the coronavirus first ripped through New York state and overloaded its hospital system, that stadiums will be allowed to reopen to fans across the state. Cuomo said on Monday that reopening the state’s economy, including theaters and large venues, through Covid-19 testing is “something where New York wants to lead the way,” 

Much of the state’s plan to reopen arenas is based on a pilot program it conducted in January, where nearly 7,000 football fans were allowed to attend the Buffalo Bills’ home playoff game as long as they presented a negative Covid-19 test. Cuomo called the program “an unparalleled success.”

“This hits the balance of safe reopening,” Cuomo said.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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