New York to Allow Fans at Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center on Feb. 23

By Michael Shapiro , |

Adam Hunger/USA Today Sports

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday the state's plan to allow fans at arenas and stadiums beginning on Feb. 23. 

Arenas such as the Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden will be allowed to have fans up to 10 percent capacity, per Cuomo. Spectators will be required to register a negative PCR rapid test within 72 hours of an event. Face coverings, social distancing and temperature checks are also required.

Feb. 23 won't mark the first time during the COVID-19 crisis in which New York fans have attended a professional sporting event. 

The Buffalo Bills hosted 7,000 fans in the AFC divisional round on Jan. 16, which Cuomo deemed "an unparalleled success.

"While we’re doing vaccines and while we’re controlling the spread of COVID, we also have to at the same time get this economy open, intelligently and in a balanced way,” Cuomo said. “The Buffalo Bills demonstration program which I mentioned before was an unparalleled success." 

"We’re now going to extend the Buffalo Bills example. Any large stadium or arena [for] hockey, basketball, football, soccer, baseball, can open on Feb. 23." 

The Nets are planning to host 200 fans beginning on Feb. 23, per The Association's Anthony Puccio. Platinum season ticket holders will get first priority for entry. 

The Knicks released a statement on Wednesday stating they will "host roughly 2,000 fans" for games beginning against the Warriors on Feb. 23. The same standard will apply to the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. 

12 NBA teams currently allow a limited number of fans in arenas. 

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