ALBANY, N.Y. (WWNY) - Large sports and performance venues will be able to host events at limited capacity starting later this month.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday that based on the success of an experiment at a Buffalo Bills game last month, the state has a plan to open other arenas and stadiums.
“We are going to now extend the Buffalo Bills example,” he said.
The Buffalo Bills experiment – which Cuomo calls an “unparalleled success” – involved testing 7,000 fans for COVID-19 and seating them socially distanced.
“Any large arena can open on February 23,” Cuomo said. “Their plan has to be approved by the state Department of Health.”
Included are arenas and stadiums for hockey, football, basketball, soccer, and baseball and venues for music, shows, and performances that have a capacity for 10,000 people or more.
Capacity will be limited to 10 percent of a venue’s maximum.
Everyone has to be tested using what’s called a PCR test within 72 hours of attending an event.
“The testing to me is key,” Cuomo said. “I can go see the president of the United States, take a test, and if I pass the test, walk into the Oval Office.”
Face coverings, distancing, and assigned seating are mandatory and temperatures will have to be taken.
“This hits the balance of safe reopening,” the governor said. He’s often said that testing people before they attend an event is the safest way to reopen the economy before most people are vaccinated.
The governor also announced that two mass vaccination sites will be opened in Brooklyn and Queens as part of a plan to reach vulnerable communities. Each will be able to administer 3,000 vaccinations a day and will be supplied directly by the federal government.
Four other sites will be set up in upstate New York, although the governor didn’t specify locations.