Live pro wrestling events could be returning to the state of New York soon.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that large stadiums and arenas, including WWE hosts Madison Square Garden and Nassau Coliseum, will be allowed to re-open for sports and concerts later this month.
There will be a capacity of 10% for these sporting and concert events, and other COVID-19 protocols will be in place to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Any venue that can fit more than 10,000 people will be able to hold events beginning on Tuesday, February 23. The events will be limited to the 10% capacity and must be signed off by the NY Department of Health.
Venues must enforce all COVID-19 safety measures, including mandatory face masks and social distancing, among others. Fans attending the events must show evidence that they have tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours prior to the beginning of the event.
There’s no word yet on if WWE is planning to run New York state now that this announcement has been made. Due to the limited capacity, running MSG would mean they could bring in around 2,000 fans, while running the Barclays Center would allow for them to bring in around 1,600 fans, and Nassau Coliseum would allow for around 1,500 fans.
There is also no word on if AEW might consider running events in The Empire State. They had several Dynamite tapings scheduled for the Northeast in early 2020 that had to be nixed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ROH, Impact Wrestling and NJPW could all potentially run venues in New York as well.
The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, which has been WWE’s main home in recent years when running New York City, has already been approved to host a NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Sacramento Kings on that day to kick off the re-openings.
Some venues are being used as mass COVID-19 vaccination sites, such as Yankee Stadium, and state officials will be meeting with venue officials to discuss how they can continue vaccination efforts once sports and concerts come back.
Stay tuned for more. Below is the full press release issued today by Governor Cuomo’s office:
Governor Cuomo Announces Sports and Entertainment Events in Major Stadiums and Arenas Can Reopen with Limited Spectators Beginning February 23
Events Permitted to Re-Open in Arenas and Stadiums with a Capacity of 10,000 People or More
Using the Buffalo Bills Pilot Program as a Model, Facilities Will Be Required to Follow Similar Operational Guidelines in Order to Re-Open
Barclays Center Already Approved to Re-Open on February 23 for Brooklyn Nets Home Game Against the Sacramento Kings
Success of this Initiative to Help Inform the Future Re-Opening of Smaller Venues
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that, building off of the successful Buffalo Bills pilot program, sports and entertainment events in major stadiums and arenas with a capacity of 10,000 or more people can re-open with limited spectators beginning February 23. Following the model established as part of the successful Buffalo Bills pilot program, venues and events must follow similar guidelines, including Department of Health approval for venues and events, capacity limitations, testing requirements, mandatory face coverings, temperature checks, and assigned, socially distanced seating.
The Department of Health’s work to inspect eligible venues statewide is already underway, and thanks to that work, the Barclays Center has been approved to re-open on February 23 for the Brooklyn Nets home game against the Sacramento Kings. The success of this, and similar events in approved venues over the coming weeks will help inform the re-opening process for smaller venues in the future.
“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.”
Specifically, in order to re-open venues to professional sports, sites must:
* 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