Miami Heat Releases COVID-19 Fan Safety Protocols for Games at FTX Arena

Ava Stuzin, Multimedia Photo Editor

On Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021, the Miami Heat announced that preseason will begin at FTX Arena with a full capacity of 19,600. Masks are mandatory for all fans, including fully vaccinated attendees.

No testing or vaccination is necessary for fans attending the games unless they sit within 15 feet of the court, otherwise known as the “Red Zone”. The “Red Zone” will seat approximately 700 people.

Those who have seats within 15 feet of the court, are two and older, or have tickets that grant access to this area must either show proof of full vaccination, proof of a negative COVID-19 test or take a rapid antigen test at the arena for $40.

Though masks are mandatory throughout attendance at the game, exceptions have been put in place when it comes to food or beverages.

Various features of the games have opened this season, including the premium lounges that were unavailable the majority of last season.

It is encouraged for fans not to bring a bag, but exceptions apply for small bags and purses smaller than 10 inches by 6 inches. Medical and infant bags are exceptions to the rule. 

In addition, the arena remains cashless, including merchandise stations, concession stands, bars and premium dining spaces. Accepted forms of payment include Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay and NFC chip-enabled cards.

If a guest violates or does not comply with any of the health and safety guidelines, they run the risk of being escorted out from the arena. Guests who violate any of these rules or engage in activity that poses a health risk could also face a ban from NBA games.

All Miami Heat employees need to be vaccinated, with exceptions made to those with qualifying medical conditions and those who hold a sincerely religious belief.

Team staff within close contact of players, including referees must have proof of vaccination. The mandate from the NBA also includes coaches, support staff traveling with teams and locker room attendants. 

Unvaccinated players are allowed to play but must follow stricter health and safety protocols. It is not expected for the Heat to face any issues with the league when it comes to vaccinations. The Miami Heat roster is believed to be fully vaccinated.

For more information and updates on what to expect while attending home games at FTX Arena, visit the Heat’s website. The season is set to start their regular season at home on October 21st, against the Milwaukee Bucks.