Miami Heat Allowing Fans To Attend Home Games With New Precautions

Luca Boccalato, Staff Writer

The Miami Heat will look to increase the number of fans allowed back into the stands with the help of dogs. 

For the last few weeks, the Heat have allowed season ticket holders to attend home games in person. The organization worked on this plan for months, and highly trained coronavirus sniffing dogs have been put into action in games where the team has hosted a handful of guests. The plan started with only allowing friends and family members of the players and those connected to the teams to attend games. It will now enter its third phase, which allows 3,000 fans back into the stadium. 

The COVID-19 sniffing dogs have been put into place in airports in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Finland and others. In Heat games, fans arriving at the stadium must go to a special detection area where the dogs walk by them. If the dog continues walking, the fan may continue into the stadium, but the dog sitting acts as a sign that the attendant may have COVID-19.

Other protocols the Heat plans on using include: a mandatory health screening questionnaire for all fans, the requirement that masks are continuously used unless actively eating or drinking while seated, and isolation rooms for if a guest begins to feel ill during the event. 

Moreover, if a fan has a fear of or allergy to the dogs, the organization offers an alternative option of taking a rapid test, which they say takes no more than 45 minutes to get accurate results back. 

“The new regulations implemented by the Miami Heat is a positive thing,” Miami Palmetto Senior High School sophomore and heat fanatic Darien Arando said. “According to CNN, a study conducted testing efficiency of dogs being able to detect COVID-19 is between 76-100%. The efficiency of these dogs is something that should be implemented in more places. These effective mitigation efforts allow people to enjoy the game without having to worry about being infected.”

The Heat have seemingly found their footing as the regular season hits full force. The return of Miami’s loyal fans should only add to the fire as the defending Eastern Conference champions look to return to the NBA Finals this season.