Miami Heat to Create Vaccinated-Only Sections for Fans with Lenient COVID Precautions
Miami Heat fans who are vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to sit in a special section for games beginning on April 1.
The team told the Associated Press Tuesday that two sections in the lower bowl of the American Airlines Arena will be dedicated to fully vaccinated fans.
The Heat is the first team to implement a vaccine section, just a week after the NBA told teams they could do these special sections in accordance with local and state health and safety guidelines, per AP.
Vaccinated spectators who choose to be in those sections will have to show proof that their final vaccine was administered at least 14 days prior to the game they attend.
COVID-19 precautions will still be enforced, but at a more lenient level.
A rep for the Miami Heat did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
Those fans will still have to wear masks and be brought through a separate entrance. There also will only be one seat dividing groups, as opposed to several seats that socially distance non-vaccinated fans.
If the vaccinated sections are within 30 feet of the court, those people also have to take a PCR test two days before the game or an antigen test the day of the game.
"You're already getting a sense that things are starting to change and go in a much more positive direction," Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra told the AP. "Just the environment in our building, I remember those first couple games we had at the beginning of the year when there was literally nobody here, that was an eerie experience."
Unfortunately, due to guidelines, children unable to get vaccinated are not eligible to be in the vaccinated-only sections for Miami Heat games even if their parents are.
The Heat began allowing limited fans in January and as of February, they've permitted a 3,000-person capacity.
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One of the Heat's biggest safety precautions is virus-detecting dogs at the entrance to the stadium.
"Things are moving," Spoelstra added in a statement to the AP. "All of us can't wait until we get our building full again, and same thing for other arenas."
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