New York arenas to reopen next week with reduced crowds and mandatory masks

Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center will host basketball once more next week

New York’s two major arenas will reopen for business next week after Governor Andrew Cuomo permitted arenas and stadiums to reopen in the state for crowds limited to 10 percent of their overall capacity.

While no concerts are currently scheduled for Brooklyn’s Barclays Center and Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden, they will welcome fans for sporting events from February 23.

Each arena will begin to host home games of basketball and ice hockey for crowds of 2000 fans, who will be seated in two-seat, socially distanced pods across the arena.


As Billboard reports, the new state guidelines also require ticketholders to prove that they have tested negative on a PCR COVID-19 test which should be taken 72 hours prior to an event, even if they have previously been vaccinated.

As well as regular testing for staff, guests will face temperature checks and must wear face masks at all times except while eating or drinking in their seats.

All in-venue purchases will also be 100% cashless via credit card purchases and mobile payment systems, such as Apple Pay and Google Pay.

“We are thrilled that we can finally start to welcome fans back, beginning with Knicks and Rangers games, and be part of this important step for our city,” Andrew Lustgarten, president and chief executive officer of MSG Sports and president of MSG, told Billboard.

“While we currently have limited capacity, we’re focused on creating the safest and most enjoyable environment, with strict operating protocols developed with state and health officials.”


Business will resume at the Barclays Center on February 23 when the Brooklyn Nets tackle the Sacramento Kings, while MSG will play host to the New York Knicks against the Golden State Warriors on the same day.