Amalie Arena may allow some fans at Lightning, Raptors games as early as March

Hockey and basketball games are being played at Amalie Arena, just not in the presence of fans due to the pandemic. But fans wanting to watch games in person may be able to return as early as March.

A spokesperson for the Tampa Bay Lightning says they are planning to phase in bringing people back into the building, starting with a limited number of family and friends who will be allowed to attend Lightning and Raptors home games for the month of February.

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Those family members and friends will be able to go into the arena starting with the Toronto Raptors' home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Feb. 14, followed by the Lightning's game against the Florida Panthers on Feb. 15.

"We believe this prudent opening of AMALIE Arena for NHL and NBA games will allow us to grant access to our season ticket members and other fans after March 2," a spokesperson said.

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However, they said they are reserving the right to review COVID-19 trends over the coming weeks before making any final decisions regarding the return of fans to the facility, citing the "fluidities of the pandemic."

"The health, safety and well-being of our players, staff and guests will continue to remain at the forefront in our decision-making processes while we navigate this difficult time," the statement said.