Sports fans and spectators at other entertainment events can begin returning to enjoy LIVE events, but based on guidelines released by New York State on Wednesday, the initial restart will not include Utica venues like the Adirondack Bank Center and The Stanley.

Events will be permitted to allow spectators only if they have a seating capacity of 10,000 or more. This is the first statewide rollout of a plan to allow attendance at LIVE entertainment events. For the initial phase, capacity will be capped at 10-percent.

The Adirondack Bank Center at the Utica Memorial Auditorium, home to Utica Comets and Utica City FC games, among other events, can seat 5,700. Utica's historic Stanley Theatre, meanwhile, can hold a little less than 3,000.

Using the same pilot program that allowed the Buffalo Bills to have approximately 10-percent capacity at its NFL playoff home games last month, facilities are required to get approval from the Department of Health and adhere to testing requirements, mandatory face coverings, temperature checks, and assigned, socially distanced seating, officials said. A full list of those safety guidelines is listed below.

The first event with spectators will be a Brooklyn Nets home game at the Barclays Center on February 23, as they host the Sacramento Kings.

'Success' at larger venues across the state, like Barclays, will pave the way for many smaller arenas or facilities like those scattered across upstate New York.

  • Obtain DOH approval for both venues and events
  • Institute a 10 percent capacity limit in arenas and stadiums
  • Ensure all staff and spectators receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event
  • Mandate face coverings, social distancing and temperature checks for all those in attendance
  • Mandate assigned, socially distanced seating
    Collect contact information from all those in attendance to help inform contact tracing efforts
  • Meet enhanced air filtration, ventilation and purification standards
  • Ensure retail, food services and athletic activities abide by all state-issued guidance

''While we continue to fight COVID on multiple fronts, we must also get this economy re-opened intelligently and in a balanced way," Governor Cuomo said. "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."

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