Cuomo announces New York arenas, venues can reopen Feb. 23

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Wednesday that arenas and venues in the state will be allowed to reopen on Feb. 23 — including indoors — with strict coronavirus prevention guidelines in place for events, including rapid testing.

First up is the Barclays Center, which Cuomo said has been approved to reopen on Feb. 23 for the Brooklyn Nets home game against the Sacramento Kings.

He said the success of that game, and similar events in approved venues over the coming weeks, will help inform the reopening process for smaller venues in the future.

Face coverings will be mandated, and all staff and spectators will be required to receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of the event. Venues will also have a 10 percent capacity limit.

“While we continue to fight COVID on multiple fronts, we must also get this economy re-opened intelligently and in a balanced way,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Reality: The pandemic is not over. Cases and hospitalizations are down compared to their peak, but experts are expecting a new wave as more contagious variants become the dominant strains. The CDC still recommends avoiding large crowds, and being indoors with people outside your household. Arenas and concert venues would fit both descriptions. Also, a negative test 72 hours beforehand does not necessarily mean that a person will still be negative the day of the event.