- Miami Heat to allow fans on April 1 (April 2 for India) match against Golden Gate Warriors
- Heat will only allow vaccinated fans only and masks will be mandatory
- Heat will open 2 sections in the lower bowl of the American Airlines Arena
People who have got themselves vaccinated will soon be able to have their own sections at the Miami heat matches.
On Tuesday (Wednesday India time), Heat announced that it is planning to open 2 sections on their lower bowl but will only be for the full vaccinated fans starting from the April 1st (April 2 for India) game against the Golden Gate Warriors.
Miami Heat is the first NBA team to reveal such a plan, though other clubs are believed to be working on similar measures.
Even though fans will be able to come to watch the game, masks will stay mandatory, even for the fully-vaccinated fans, however, the social distancing rules will be slightly relaxed in such areas.
Last week, the NBA had told the teams that such sections would be allowed under very specific conditions and in accordance with the local as well as the state health and safety guidelines. If any of the sections provided by teams include seats within 30 feet of the court, fans in those seats will have to take a PCR test two days prior to the game or an approved antigen test on game day.
Erik Spoelstra, Head Coach of Miami Heat, said, “You’re already getting a sense that things are starting to change and go in a much more positive direction.
“Just the environment in our building, I remember those first couple games we had at the beginning of the year when there was literally nobody here, that was an eerie experience.”
The Heat will be devoting two sections for the fully vaccinated fans, where pods of groups will be separated by just one seat. These fans will be admitted through a separate gate and will be required to show their Centers for Disease Control vaccination card, or a proof thereof, as well as a valid identification.
Fans would also have to have been fully vaccinated for at least 14 days to be eligible to be in those sections.
Miami Heat has allowed a small number of fans to attend its games for the past several weeks, additionally, has also deployed virus-detecting dogs at the entrances this season.
The Heat are also one of three teams — New Orleans and Atlanta being the other 2 — to publicly acknowledge in recent days that some players and staff members have started the vaccination process.
Spoelstra said, “Things are moving,” while adding that “All of us can’t wait until we get our building full again, and same thing for other arenas.”
As per the rules of NBA for the vaccinated-only sections, children are still not eligible to receive the vaccine would not be permitted even if with parents or guardians who have been vaccinated.
The NBA teams have also been encouraged to have dedicated concession as well as separate restroom areas for the vaccinated fans, and make efforts to limit any chance for those fans to commingle with others inside the arena.