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Warriors claim first with Chase Center reopening plan, Optus Stadium to go full capacity

NBA basketball franchise the Golden State Warriors has claimed it will become the first sports team to provide fans with an at-home testing solution as part of the reopening of Chase Center, while Western Australia venues such as Optus Stadium will soon be able to operate at full capacity.

The Warriors announced yesterday (Thursday) that Chase Center has been approved to host fans for the team’s remaining nine regular season home games, beginning with the April 23 visit of the Denver Nuggets.

In-line with California State Department of Public Health guidelines that were announced last week, Chase Center can accommodate up to 35% capacity based on the venue’s plan to require all fans and personnel to produce either proof of a full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

The 35% capacity allowance is subject to the state’s physical distancing requirements, and the Warriors said the actual percentage of fan capacity that will be permitted on a per game basis may vary based on local health approval and subsequent guidance issued by the State and the County.

Every person entering Chase Center must produce either proof of a full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test that was administered within 48 hours prior to the game. Fans who purchase their tickets more than seven days in advance of the game will be eligible to receive, at no extra cost, an at-home Lucira Health molecular COVID-19 test to be self-administered within 48 hours of the game.

The Warriors said this makes it the first sports team to provide fans with an at-home testing solution. Fans will then enrol in Clear’s Health Pass where they can securely link their test result and complete a health survey to generate a Health Pass, which they will be required to show for entry to Chase Center. The NBA this week entered into a partnership with secure identity company Clear, whose Health Pass technology is being made available to teams for in-arena health screening.

Additionally, fans who can provide proof of vaccination do not need to produce a negative COVID-19 test, unless they are seated within 30 feet of the court. Fully-vaccinated fans will have the opportunity to purchase tickets in designated sections of the arena bowl.

In a recently announced partnership with the Clorox Company, the Oakland-based company will provide disinfecting products for the Chase Center Clean Team. Chase Center has achieved GBAC STAR accreditation and LEED Gold certification, one of the first NBA arenas to receive both.

The April 23 visit of the Nuggets will mark the return of fans to Chase Center for the first time since March 10, 2020. In November, the Warriors’ plans for a rapid COVID-19 testing scheme that would have allowed Chase Center to operate at 50% capacity were rejected by San Francisco health officials.

The team’s plan centred on COVID-19 testing for all fans ahead of games. The proposal was outlined with the hope of allowing the 18,064-seat Chase Center to welcome around 9,000 fans when the new NBA season started on December 22.

Meanwhile, the Government of Western Australia has today announced major changes to venue capacity and state-controlled border arrangements, following the latest public health advice. Certain indoor and outdoor venues with fixed seating in Western Australia will be able to operate at 100% capacity from tomorrow (Saturday).

The likes of Perth’s 60,000-seat Optus Stadium, along with RAC Arena, HBF Stadium – Main Arena, and HBF Park, will be able to have 100% of the fixed seating capacity in the spectator seating and special seating spaces.

It is expected these arrangements will be in place for at least a month before being reviewed. Premier Mark McGowan said: “Western Australia has been the envy of the country, if not the world, so it’s crucial we all do our bit to keep it that way, to keep our community healthy and our economy thriving. 

“While these changes are very positive, Western Australians should not underestimate the virus and its ability to disrupt and destroy lives and livelihoods. 

“It was less than two weeks ago that Queensland went into a snap three-day lockdown following an outbreak, and while our border arrangements allow for safe travel it is also a fast and effective measure to stop the virus.

“That is why I will not hesitate to bring back hard borders should we need to protect Western Australians from COVID-19.”

Image: Golden State Warriors