About 450 vaccinated fans will get their own entrance and relaxed distance guideline sections at Miami Heat games as the NBA franchise becomes the first professional sports team to request proof of injection prior to entry.
The Heat announced plans in March to open two sections in their bottom bowl only to fully vaccinated fans, starting with Thursday’s home game against Golden State. They are the first major American professional sports team to reveal such a plan, although other NBA clubs are believed to be working on similar measures.
Unvaccinated fans will still be allowed access, provided they get sniffed by a COVID-19 sniffer dog or agree to a rapid coronavirus test.
Masks will still be required, even for vaccinated fans, who are admitted through a separate gate and must present their Centers for Disease Control vaccination card along with valid ID. Fans must be fully vaccinated for a minimum of 14 days to be eligible for those sections.
About 450 vaccinated fans will get their own entrance and sections at Miami Heat games starting Thursday as the NBA franchise becomes the first professional sports team to require proof of injection prior to entry.
Unvaccinated fans will still be allowed access, provided they get sniffed by a COVID-19 sniffer dog or agree to a rapid coronavirus test. Masks will still be needed even for the vaccinated fans, but social distance rules are being relaxed somewhat for the roughly 450 vaccinated fans who show their CDC vaccination card at the gate
“We are a company that has spent two decades verifying where people are, when they are in the right place,” said Matthew Jafarian, executive vice president of business strategy. The Wall Street Journal“We’ve dealt with fraudulent tickets, we’ve checked people’s IDs for alcohol.
‘But no one has done this before. And so we are going to learn a lot. ‘
The NBA told teams in March that such sections would be allowed, under very specific circumstances, and in accordance with local and state health and safety guidelines.
If any of the sections provided by teams contain seats within 10 meters of the field, fans in those seats will be required to take a PCR test or an approved antigen test on game day two days prior to the match.
“You already get the feeling that things are starting to change and are moving in a much more positive direction,” said heat coach Erik Spoelstra on March 23. ‘Just the environment in our building, I remember those first few games we had at the start of the year when there was literally no one here, that was a scary experience. ‘
Miami has allowed a small number of fans to attend games in recent weeks, and has had virus-detecting dogs at the entrances this season.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban sees the NBA make progress by allowing fans to return to games with fewer restrictions
The Heat is also one of four teams – New Orleans, Atlanta and Portland are the others, with Blazers coach Terry Stotts saying on Tuesday that 13 players have received the first dose – only to publicly acknowledge in recent days that some are players and staffers started the vaccination process.
Under the NBA rules for the vaccinated only sections, children who are not yet eligible for the vaccine would not be allowed, even if their parents or guardians have been vaccinated. Teams are also encouraged to have dedicated concession and restroom areas for the vaccinated fans, and make efforts to limit the chance for those fans to mingle with others in the arena.
“ If we can really get to the point of full vaccination late in the spring, there will of course be changes in the number of people who can safely gather in an arena, ” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban wrote in an e-mail. mail to the Journal. “As the protocols change in line with the data, we will be ready and able to expand our audience to as much as we can safely.”
Madison Square Garden, meanwhile, says fans of New York Knicks and Rangers will be allowed to show proof of vaccination in lieu of a negative test to access the arena.
New York teams, such as the Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, have also tested the state’s ‘Excelsior Pass’, which is basically a secure code that can be stored on a phone to verify that a customer is COVID negative or vaccinated.
“As with a mobile airline boarding pass, individuals can print their pass or save it on their smartphones using the Excelsior Pass’s“ Wallet app ”,” said a statement from the governor’s office.
Each pass has a ‘secure QR code, which locations scan with an accompanying app to confirm someone’s COVID health status’.