New York's indoor sports arenas and concert venues can open at limited capacity on February 23, Gov. Cuomo announced

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New York's indoor sports arenas and concert venues can open at limited capacity on February 23, Gov. Cuomo announced
Masked tourists walk in front of Madison Square Garden in New York City.Noam Galai/Getty Images
  • New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced indoor sports and concert venues could reopen on February 23.
  • Capacity will be limited to 10%, and attendees will have assigned seats spread apart.
  • Guests will also need to get a negative COVID-19 test before entry and must wear face coverings.

New York state just gave sports stadiums and indoor concert venues the green light to bring in live audiences.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that any stadium or arena with a total capacity of 10,000 or more could reopen at 10% capacity starting February 23.

The announcement came a month after the state allowed nearly 7,000 fans to attend a Buffalo Bills playoff game in Orchard Park.

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"The Buffalo Bills demonstration was an unparalleled success," Cuomo said in a press conference, adding: "We are going to now extend the Buffalo Bills example to any large stadium or arena."

These venues host sports, including hockey, basketball, football, soccer, and baseball, as well as concerts and other performances.

New York's indoor sports arenas and concert venues can open at limited capacity on February 23, Gov. Cuomo announced
Yankee Stadium in New York City.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Each venue has to submit a plan to the state health department for approval before reopening. That plan must include mandatory face coverings and assigned seating to facilitate social distancing. Every ticketed guest will also have to submit a negative PCR COVID-19 test result - not a rapid test - within 72 hours before the event.

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Cuomo said Barclays Center in Brooklyn would be the first arena to open under this policy on February 23. The Brooklyn Nets will host the Sacramento Kings.

Cases are falling in New York state

New York's indoor sports arenas and concert venues can open at limited capacity on February 23, Gov. Cuomo announced
Buffalo Bills fans in Orchard Park Stadium in Buffalo, New York on January 9, 2021.AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes

Every Bills fan who attended the January 9 playoff game was tested for COVID-19 before entering - a measure that is key to reopening sports stadiums, Cuomo said.

"This hits the balance of safe reopening," he added.

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The governor's announcement came after New York's COVID-19 positivity rate - the portion of tests coming back positive - dropped to its lowest average since December 1: about 4%.

Case numbers are also going down, and vaccine numbers are going up, Cuomo said. The state has administered 2.6 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine.

New York's indoor sports arenas and concert venues can open at limited capacity on February 23, Gov. Cuomo announced
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo at a press conference on September 29, 2020.Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty

On Monday, Cuomo announced New York City's indoor dining establishments could reopen starting February 12 at 25% capacity.

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