Utah Jazz to (jazz) up with limited fans


Utah Jazz fans will be allowed at Vivint Smart Home Arena Image: Vivint Smart Home Arena

The American professional basketball team Utah Jazz has announced recently that its home games at Vivint Arena in Utah (US) will initially be played with restricted number of fans when the 2020-21 National Basketball Association (NBA) season begins on December 22nd.

The Utah Jazz is an American professional basketball team based in Salt Lake City. The Jazz compete in the NBA as a member of the league’s Western Conference, Northwest Division. Since 1991, the team has played its home games at the 18,300-capacity Vivint Smart Home Arena in Utah.

The National Basketball Association is an American men’s professional basketball league. It is composed of 30 teams and is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. It is the premier men’s professional basketball league in the world.

A series of enhanced health and safety measures have been implemented throughout the building keeping in mind the COVID-19 situation in the United States which is spiralling out of control. The measures have been taken in consultation with the Utah Department of Health.

The Jazz said the arena will reopen with a reduced seating capacity of 1,500 in the lower bowl only and limited seating on the suite level.

Lower and upper bowl season ticket members will be allowed priority access for socially distanced seating at Jazz games during the arena’s limited capacity.

Stated Jazz President Jim Olson, “The Jazz believes this is a responsible way to start the season from a public health and safety standpoint. Our intent is to increase the number of fans as the season unfolds in compliance with State guidelines.”

“We want to reassure our guests that we are taking the utmost precautions to have a safe and enjoyable experience as they return. We are optimistic for the future and continue to closely monitor the public health situation with the State of Utah, Salt Lake County, and Salt Lake City officials as well as the NBA,” Olson added.

Any preseason games at Vivint Arena will be played without fans. The league recently announced that the 2020-21 NBA season will begin on December 22nd and continue through May. The Jazz and Vivint Arena have collaborated with Alsco to deliver essential products to safeguard public health, including hand sanitizer dispensers, masks, gloves and hospital-grade cleaning solutions.

For welcoming fans back to its fold, the Vivint Arena will implement several safety measures and protocols due to the pandemic, including face masks which will be made mandatory, mobile entry and screening procedures at all ingress points, plexiglass barriers at point of sale locations, and social distancing signage.

The arena has earned its Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) certification, an NBA requirement for return to play, for its cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention protocols. The arena has also signed the ‘Stay Safe to Stay Open’ pledge, a partnership between the Salt Lake Chamber and the Utah Department of Health.

“The Utah Jazz have always been an important part of our community, and the team is making every effort to be an example for how we can start to safely resume these types of activities,” remarked Rich Saunders, Interim Executive Director, Utah Department of Health.

The Jazz is one of the few NBA teams to have formally committed to a return of fans for the new season. Recently, the Milwaukee Bucks announced that its games at Fiserv Forum (in Milwaukee, US) will be played without onlookers “until further notice” in conjunction with State and local COVID-19 guidelines.

The NBA concluded its 2019-20 seasons at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Florida, with all games played on a single campus in a ‘bubble’ environment. Teams are now able to play at their home arenas for the new season and it was reported recently that the NBA will require fans within 30 feet of the court to test negative for COVID-19 as part of protocols issued to all 30 teams.

In November, it was announced that the Toronto Raptors, the NBA’s only Canadian team, will start the season at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida, due to travel-related COVID-19 restrictions. The Raptors was keen to open the season at its Scotiabank Arena (in Toronto, Canada) home but the current public health situation in Canada and the “urgent need” to determine where the team will play led to the decision to settle for Amalie Arena.

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