TAMPA, Fla. - For the first time in nearly nine months, Amalie Arena will reopen for a sporting event on Friday, turning Tampa Bay into a four-sport town as the NBA's Toronto Raptors make the arena their temporary home.
It's the team's final preseason game, with no more than 3,200 fans allowed inside. Organizers are working to assure people that they'll be safe Friday night.
Venue officials and the Tampa Bay Lightning have a health and safety plan in place for every person that walks through the doors.
Physical distancing will be promoted at all gates, concessions, and restrooms. The concession and retail stands will be cashless and contact-free. You'll find more than 200 hand-sanitizing stations throughout the arena.
Additionally, ultraviolet disinfectant lights have been installed over all handrails and escalators.
What's more, specifically for fans who attend Raptors games, ticket holders are required to take a symptom and exposure survey before entering the arena.
According to the arena's safety guidelines, Raptors fans must respond 'no' to the following questions in order to attend:
- Have you experienced any symptoms of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours (e.g., a fever of 100.4⁰F or higher, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking, muscle pain/achiness, headache, sore throat, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, runny nose, vomiting, diarrhea, fatigue or any other symptoms associated with COVID-19 identified by the CDC)?
- Has anyone you live with or have close contact with been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 48 hours?
- Have you been contacted by a local public health authority within the last 14 days due to having had close contact with an individual infected with COVID-19?
- Have you been directed to quarantine by a physician or local public health authority?
- Have you tested positive for, or been diagnosed with, COVID-19 within the last 10 days and/or have no received clearance from a physician to discontinue isolation?
There is also a no-bag policy this season to reduce contamination. Fans who buy seats within 30 feet of the court have to undergo and return a negative COVID-19 test.
If all goes well, the fan count will increase from 3,200 on Friday to 3,800 on Wednesday when the regular season opens. Tickets for tonight's game are available online on Ticketmaster.com.
The Raptors made Tampa their temporary home to begin the 2020-2021 season due to COVID-19 restrictions in Canada. The team is expected to be in Tampa at least until March, which is halfway through the season.