On March 7, 2020, the New York Islanders played their last game at home in front of fans before the shutdown. When the 2019-2020 season was finally ready to start up again in August, it was without fans in the stands for obvious reasons.
The same was the case here, at least in New York, to start the 2021 season. Well, now for the first time in nearly a year, New York state will be able to have fans in arenas according to Andrew Cuomo.
Starting on February 23, stadiums and arenas will be able to reopen for sports and musical performances under the following guidelines:
10% of the capacity limit will be allowed in. For Nassau Coliseum, that would be roughly 1,390 people allowed in. Seats will be socially distanced, and face coverings will have to be worn at all times with temperature tests being a part of the experience.
Following Governor Cuomo’s announcement, The Islanders released the following statement to the fans:
As expected, season ticket holders will receive first access to the tickets when they are available. At this time, there has been no announcement on when tickets will become available and for which games.
There are 22 home games on the schedule after the February 23 date that was issued by Governor Cuomo. The decision has received mixed reactions from fans online.
Some fans are happy with the decision, being able to take in a hockey game (even in a small capacity) is something that is exciting to a lot of people. This also allows Nassau Coliseum staff to return to work as well.
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Others who were more critical of the decision cite vaccinations for Coliseum workers being a priority and point to the cancelations around the NHL due to the virus. There were 8,279 new cases of the virus in New York state yesterday.