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NY stadiums, arenas permitted to reopen

New York governor Andrew Cuomo will allow major stadiums and arenas to reopen with a capacity of 10% from 23 February.

The guidelines for reopening will be based on the testing pilot programme conducted by the NFL team Buffalo Bills at the weekend, in which 6,700 fans who presented negative tests, and agreed to contact tracing, attended the game socially distanced

In order for stadiums and arenas to reopen at 10%, all fans and staff planning to attend an event will need to provide a negative PCR test within the 72 hours prior. Fans must also be temperature checked upon entering a venue and will be required to wear face coverings while in attendance.

Indoor arenas must observe enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards, as well as socially distanced seating configurations. The permission applies to stadiums and arenas with a capacity of 10,000 or more.

The Barclays Center (cap. 19,000) in Brooklyn has already announced plans for their first event and will welcome fans back to the arena on 23 February for a basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings.

“While we continue to fight Covid on multiple fronts, we must also get this economy reopened intelligently and in a balanced way,” said governor Cuomo.

“While we continue to fight Covid on multiple fronts, we must also get this economy re-opened intelligently”

“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.

“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.”

Cuomo has also announced that the state will host concerts for the first time in a year as part of the New York Arts Revival programme he announced in January.

More than 300 pop-up gigs will take place between 20 February and 6 September (Labor Day) at venues including the Apollo Theater, Harlem Stage, La Mama, and Alice Busch Opera Theatre.

The governor says the gigs will visit flexible venues with no fixed seating so event formats can be reconfigured to allow adequate social distancing.

In January, Dr Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to US president Joe Biden, predicted that live performances could resume this autumn, depending on how widely the Covid-19 vaccine can be distributed by then.

Fauci suggested that if between 70% and 85% of the US population would have to be vaccinated, venues with good ventilation and proper air filters could open without social distancing – though some theatres may ask audience members to continue to wear masks.

 


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Fauci: Live shows could return in autumn 2021

Dr Anthony Fauci, one of the leaders of the White House’s coronavirus taskforce and the incoming chief medical advisor to the US president, has predicted that live performances could resume this autumn, depending on how widely the Covid-19 vaccine can be distributed by then.

Speaking at the Association of Performing Arts Professionals’ APAP NYC conference on Saturday (9 January), Fauci (pictured) told delegates he believes theatres and other live entertainment venues may reopen “some time in the fall of 2021”, dependent on the US achieving a form of herd immunity by that time.

According to the New York Times, Fauci said for shows to return, between 70% and 85% of the US population would need to vaccinated against Covid-19. “If everything goes right, this is will occur some time in the fall [autumn] of 2021,” he explained, “so that by the time we get to the early to mid-fall, you can have people feeling safe performing on stage, as well as people in the audience.”

Fauci suggested that, should that vaccination goal be met, venues with good ventilation and proper air filters could open without social distancing – though some theatres may ask audience members to continue to wear masks.

“We’ll be back in the theatres … It will happen”

“I think you can then start getting back to almost full capacity of seating,” he said, also suggesting that some venues could follow airlines and require negative Covid-19 tests before entry.

During the conversation, Fauci also referred to Restart-19 – the German study that demonstrated that, with proper ventilation and hygiene measures, live events have a low impact on the spread of coronavirus – suggesting there should be similar studies carried out in the United States. “What the performing arts needs to do is to do a little bit more of what the Germans are doing,” he commented.

In his concluding remarks, Fauci urged Americans to stay vigilant about public health measures so that the live industry could restart. “We’ll be back in the theatres – performers will be performing, audiences will be enjoying it,” he said. “It will happen.”

At the time of writing, had 1,140 new daily cases of Covid-19 and 18 new deaths.

 


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