While the NBA opted to hold the end of last season in a bubble at Walt Disney World due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league is planning to hold next season in teams’ respective arenas in an effort to allow fans to attend in person.
On Tuesday afternoon, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced plans that show what that might look like across the league.
Thunder announce COVID-19 protocols for fans
The Thunder announced plans to host fans at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Tuesday amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The team will allow “reduced seating capacity” for home games, though it’s not clear how many will be allowed in. The arena can seat around 18,200 fans when full. At 50 percent capacity — which is likely still higher than would be allowed in — around 9,100 fans could attend.
Groups of fans will also be separated by at least six feet in the stands and be required to wear face coverings. They will have to use self-service ticket scanning — meaning mobile-entry only — and purchase concessions through self-service options. There will also be “mandated strict hygiene and disinfecting procedures” in place.
Though the plan still has some specifics needed to be ironed out before the 72-game season starts on Dec. 22, it at least provides a blueprint for what teams around the league might do.
There were more than 10.2 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Tuesday night, according to The New York Times — more than 1 million of which were recorded in November alone. The country is averaging more than 116,000 new cases a day over the past week, too, an all-time record.
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