Barclays Center welcomes back fans for the 1st time in nearly a year
Sports fans in New York City will finally be allowed to support their teams in person.
Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center will be open to the public for the first time in nearly a year with some new safety protocols in effect.
Everyone will be required to wear a mask and have a negative coronavirus test done three days prior to attending the game. They will also have their temperatures taken and then they will need to fill out a health screening.
Once inside the Barclays Center, fans are required to socially distance by sitting in "pods" with up to four people, or mini suites, which are being called "premium living rooms."
There will also be around 450 touchless hand sanitizing stations.
All tickets will be digital and single game tickets will only be available after the All-Star break. News 12 is told those tickets will go on sale as soon as the NBA releases the schedule for the second half of the season.
Workers at the Barclays Center say they are ready to welcome back fans. “We’re not about trial and error, we’re about getting this right the first time,” they say. “We’re taking this very, very seriously.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the program comes from the success seen when fans were allowed back during the Buffalo Bills playoff run.
The governor says the success of reopening these arenas will determine when smaller venues can reopen.
Business owners near the areas are also hopeful that New Yorkers will stop by.
"We are getting ready with our Barclays drinks," one restaurant owner says. "Our Nets fans always support us before and after the game."
The Nets are taking on the Sacramento Kings tonight at 7:30 p.m.
The Barclays Center is allowing less than the 10% capacity permitted by the state. After the NBA All-Star break, officials say they will permit the full 10% or approximately 1,800 fans.