New York has announced that it will allow arenas and stadiums capable of holding 10,000 people or more to reopen later in February, with a capacity limit of 10%.

Governor Andrew N. Cuomo has said that sports and entertainment events in major stadiums and arenas can go ahead with limited spectators from 23 February. Barclays Center has already been approved to reopen on that date for the Brooklyn Nets game against the Sacramento Kings. However, venues and events must follow guidelines, including Department of Health approval for venues and events, capacity limitations, testing requirements and assigned, socially-distanced seating.

The Department of Health's work in inspecting eligible venues statewide is already underway, as they must meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards. Staff and spectators must receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event, and are required to wear face coverings and undergo temperature checks at the venue. The state feels that the success of this initiative will help to inform the future re-opening of smaller venues, and its decision follows a pilot scheme with the Buffalo Bills, in which 7000 pre-tested fans were admitted to the NFL playoffs.

"Live sports and entertainment have long been engrained in the fabric of New York and the inability to hold events has only added to the isolation we have all felt at the hands of this virus," says Cuomo. "Thankfully, our pilot program to reopen Buffalo Bills games to fans was an unparalleled success and now we are taking that model and expanding it to other large venues across the state to not only reinvigorate local economies, but also help bring some fun and joy back into people's lives as safely as possible."

Further information on the announcement can be found here.

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