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NYC concert venues and arenas will officially reopen this month

All attendees will have to present a negative PCR test 72 hours before the event.

Anna Rahmanan
Written by
Anna Rahmanan

We didn't think that the news about indoor dining officially returning to New York City could be topped. Alas, we were wrong: Governor Andrew Cuomo just announced that concert venues and sports arenas around the state can reopen for events starting February 23. Yes, that's just a couple of weeks away. Hurrah!

Of course, strict guidelines will be in place. Each destination's safety plan has to first be approved by the State Department of Health, for example. Brooklyn's Barclays Center has actually gone through that process already so folks will be able to attend the Brooklyn Nets versus Sacramento Kings game on February 23.

Do expect a 10% capacity limit in arenas and stadiums that can fit over 10,000 people, plus assigned and socially distanced seatings, temperature checks and face covering requirements.

One more thing: everyone entering the various complexes must show proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the event they're attending. "If you’re negative you are negative, so the testing is the key," said Cuomo during his official press conference. The actual logistics involved in the presentation of the testing results are still up in the air. 

Another still-to-be-determined aspect of the plan: how some of these arenas will double as vaccination sites. Yankee Stadium, for example, opened as a hub last week and, just yesterday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he hoped to turn the Barclays Center into another vaccination destination as well.

Cuomo's decision to slowly reopen the cultural centers follows a successful experiment led during a Buffalo Bills game in January, during which 6,700 fans were welcomed in the arena after having been thoroughly tested. Post-event contact tracing efforts also proved effective.

If you still feel unsafe about potentially rubbing elbows with a relatively large amount of people indoors, worry not (we understand, of course): a new initiative by the state called NYPopsUP will feature a slew of surprise live performances all around the city starring the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Patti Smith, Kenan Thompson and Billy Porter, among others.

Here's to hoping that Broadway as we know it will make a comeback sooner rather than later as well.

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