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New York Arenas Welcome Back Fans

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New York takes another step forward on the road to reopening Tuesday, as stadiums and arenas welcome back spectators. CBS2's John Dias has the latest.

Video Transcript

MARY CALVI: Now New York taking another step forward on the road to reopening. Nearly a year after the lockdown, today stadiums and arenas with a capacity of 10,000 people or more can welcome back spectators.

CHRIS WRAGGE: But there will be plenty of restrictions in place. CBS's John Dias joins us live outside the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn this morning. Hi, John.

JOHN DIAS: Yeah, good morning, Chris. Good morning, Mary. A big day for sports fans-- officials here at the Barclays Center telling us that they are well aware of this new 10% capacity rule. However, though, they will be opening with just a few-hundred fans, and they will be making their way to working towards that 10% capacity rule over the next few weeks. Meanwhile, they also tell us that they will be opening two hours early to give fans plenty of time to safely get inside.

Starting today, crowds can't exactly go wild like they used to, but at least they can now attend a game. The Brooklyn Nets plan on taking on the Sacramento Kings at the Barclays Center tonight, but before the fun comes safety. Starting with surface cleaning, there's also air filters.

ADINA ERWIN: Air changes out at least nine times every hour. So we're bringing-- circulating clean air in and out, in and out.

JOHN DIAS: Fans must complete a PCR at-home test sent to them within 72 hours, an online questionnaire, then a second test at the Barclays Center, a rapid antigen test, along with a temperature check. Stadium seats have been marked off in pairs or fours, while courtside seats and other spots are set up in pods. There are suites and these.

- We've been referring to these as our living rooms. We built 10 of these-- of these self-contained mini suites here in the seating bowl.

JOHN DIAS: This place can seat 18,000 people. They're working their way up to 1,800 in the next few weeks. Madison Square Garden, though, will be welcoming 2,000 guests starting today when the Knicks take on the Golden State Warriors. There, even if vaccinated, fans must also present a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours, complete a health survey, undergo temperature screening. All tickets will be digital. Doors will open 90 minutes before the game. Guests will be assigned specific entrances, and the arena will be 100% cashless.

Meanwhile, New Jersey plans to follow suit.

PHIL MURPHY: As our numbers continue to decline, we believe we can safely take this step.

JOHN DIAS: Governor Phil Murphy says, starting March 1st, entertainment venues with a fixed seating capacity of 5,000 or more can reopen. 10,000 capacity is allowed for indoor venues. 15% for outdoor venues.

And in all arenas, both here in New York as well as in New Jersey, we are told that all fans have to be wearing face coverings the entire time, unless of course they are eating or drinking. Then they can take them off momentarily. But once they are done with that, they have to put them right back on. We are live this morning from the Barclays Center here in Downtown Brooklyn. John Dias, CBS 2 News.