The San Antonio Spurs will begin welcoming back some fans to games March 12, meaning half of the NBA now has a plan in place to allow limited attendance a year and a day after it shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A 16th team, the Boston Celtics, have a plan to welcome back fans March 22.
The Spurs’ reduced capacity at the AT&T Center will be at 3,200 fans to allow for proper social distancing, the team said Monday.
Fourteen teams currently have fans in attendance. The Atlanta Hawks, Brooklyn Nets, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Indiana Pacers, Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, New Orleans Pelicans, New York Knicks, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz are currently allowing fans at a reduced capacity.
As for other teams yet to green-light fans, myriad factors contributed to the decision, including local government protocols and regulations, the cost of equipping the arena with proper health provisions for only a handful of home games, and the potential tension that enforcing mask-wearing and distancing rules could create with fans. Most teams have released statements saying they plan to work with state and local officials to at some point welcome back fans this season.
Teams allowing fans have protocols in place, such as masking at all times (except when eating or drinking), social distancing, temperature checks, touchless ticketing, enhanced cleaning for surfaces and touchpoints, plus air purification and filtration systems, among other things.