Suns to begin allowing fans in limited capacity on Monday

Feb 2, 2021, 5:31 PM | Updated: 9:14 pm

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns tip off during the first half of a preseason basketball...

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Phoenix Suns tip off during the first half of a preseason basketball game, Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Phoenix, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)

(AP Photo/Matt York)

The Phoenix Suns announced on Tuesday they will be allowing fans in a limited capacity to return on Monday to Phoenix Suns Arena.

The first game with others in attendance will be on Sunday against the Boston Celtics, with the Suns offering complimentary tickets to health care workers. Monday’s home game will mark the first open to fans, with up to 1,500 ticketed fans allowed.

“With an exciting new era beginning on the court and a practically new building to play in, we’re thrilled to welcome fans back to Phoenix Suns Arena,” Suns president and CEO Jason Rowley said in a press release. “Our staff has worked tirelessly with the NBA and health officials to ensure proper protocols are in place to keep everyone safe.”

The Suns’ decision meets the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control, the NBA and the Arizona Department of Health and Services. The organization has been working with numerous health experts to ensure a safe experience for fans.

Masks will be mandatory for fans on entry and at all times in the arena, outside of eating and drinking. Social distancing will be required, with markings across the arena for proper spacing at concessions, restrooms and more.

Other measures will be taken, including paperless ticketing and cashless payment methods.

Presales for season ticket holders will begin on Thursday while single-game tickets go on sale Friday.

COVID-19 cases have been dropping in the back-half of January after a large spike around the holidays.

Looking at the case numbers from tests on a specific day, that number stayed below 2,000 in Arizona from July 22 to Nov. 11, including a run from Aug. 5 to Oct. 13 where it never hit 1,000, per the Arizona Department of Health and Services. Those numbers dramatically increased, reaching a record high on Nov. 23 of nearly 6,000.

Those kept climbing to the peaks reached after Christmas, with 11,313 positive tests from cases on Dec. 28 and 11,293 on Jan. 4.

The seven-day case average on Feb. 1 reached below 5,000 for the first time since Dec. 4, per ABC 15’s Garrett Archer.

The positive tests by day still remain rather high and nowhere near the lows reached over the summer. For the week of Jan. 18, the seven-day average of positive cases was at 5,578 on Tuesday as new data still comes in.

With the number of positive tests over the past two months, deaths continue to reach new highs. At least 100 people in Arizona died from COVID-19 per day for the first 20 days of January, where recent deaths from the past few weeks will continue to be added.

Accounting for Tuesday’s 238 reported deaths, the last seven-day cycle had 914 reported deaths as the vaccine rollout across the state progresses.

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