Gov. Andrew Cuomo says large New York venues can reopen at 10% capacity

NEW YORK — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that large sports venues around the state — with a capacity of 10,000 people or more — can reopen at 10% capacity.

The Brooklyn Nets have been approved to allow fans to return to Barclays Center beginning Feb. 23 against the Sacramento Kings, pending approval by the NBA.

Cuomo said that in accordance with the New York State Department of Health, anyone who plans to attend must return a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the game. At games, face coverings will be required, along with temperature checks. It is also mandatory that socially distanced seating is assigned.

The New York Islanders issued a statement saying the announcement was “exciting” and that they look forward to having fans back at Nassau Coliseum “as soon as possible.”

Other sports venues affected by the announcement include Yankee Stadium, Citi Field (New York Mets), Madison Square Garden (New York Knicks, New York Rangers), the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, Belmont Park, KeyBank Center in Buffalo (Buffalo Sabres), and Saratoga Race Course.

Cuomo said that the “unparalleled success” of the Buffalo Bills having 7,000 fans at games during the NFL playoffs prompted the decision to reopen.

The Nets would be the 12th NBA team to allow fans in arenas along with the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz.

Cuomo said that any other sports organization that wishes to have fans at games — including baseball, hockey, soccer and football — must first have its plans approved by the state. These stadiums and arenas are also eligible to be used as concert or show venues, pending state approval.

Cuomo tweeted that total COVID-19 hospitalizations in New York were at 7,593 and that of the 176,750 tests reported Tuesday, 7,101 were positive (4.02%).

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