New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Wednesday that indoor arenas that host music, sports, and entertainment events will finally be able to welcome fans in attendance beginning later this month on February 23rd.
Qualifying indoor arenas across the state and stadiums with a 100,000-person total capacity will have to abide by a strictly-enforced limited capacity of just 10%, and fans who do choose to attend a sporting or music event must provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the event. Mask-wearing, temperature checks, and assigned seating will also be required as part of New York’s latest step in reopening its live events industry.
“The testing to me is key. I can go see the president of the United States, take a test and if I pass the test, walk into the Oval Office,” the New York Governor said with Wednesday’s announcement. “This hits the balance of safe reopening. A PCR test is as safe as you can get.”
Cuomo’s decision to begin reopening the state’s largest indoor entertainment venues and outdoor stadiums follow the success in pre-event testing used for a Buffalo Bills football game earlier this year, where 6,700 fans provided negative COVID-19 tests and agreed to contact tracing after attending a game at Bills Stadium. Fans were limited to sitting in groups of just two and four and were spread out across the 70,000-seat outdoor stadium.
Cuomo’s announcement on Wednesday also comes just days after New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio officially announced the city’s “Open Culture” initiative, which will open up to 115 designated streets in all five NYC boroughs to be used for ticketed performing arts events throughout the spring, summer, and into fall.
Earlier this week, Gov. Cuomo also announced the state’s plans for a NY PopsUp statewide arts festival, featuring over 300 performances from a variety of artists over 100 days beginning February 20th and continuing through Labor Day.
[H/T NBC New York]