A limited number of fans will be able to attend Utah Jazz games during the upcoming season, the team announced Tuesday. The team and league schedule has not yet been announced.
The season is scheduled to tip off a few days before Christmas and, according to newly released plans, there will be a 1,500 fan capacity in the lower bowl of Vivint Smart Home Arena and limited seating on the suite level. Lower and upper bowl season ticket members will have priority social-distanced seating options at Jazz games during the area's limited fan capacity.
“The Jazz believe this is a responsible way to start the season from a public health and safety standpoint. Our intent is to increase the number of fans as the season unfolds in compliance with state guidelines,” said Jazz President Jim Olson. “We want to reassure our guests that we are taking the utmost precautions to have a safe and enjoyable experience as they return. We are optimistic for the future and continue to closely monitor the public health situation with State of Utah, Salt Lake County, and Salt Lake City officials as well as the NBA.”
The Jazz, along with the rest of the NBA, complete last season and playoffs in Florida is what was called a COVID-19 bubble, that protected the players on a large campus. It ended late after a long virus-created hiatus when Jazz center Rudy Gobert was the first NBA player and among the first athletes in any sport to get a positive test for COVID-19 on March 11. In a matter of days, the sports world shut down, including the NCAA basketball tournament.
This NBA season has been shortened to 72 games and starts just before Christmas instead of the usual late October or early November start.
Any preseason games at Vivint Arena will be played without fans next month. The league recently announced that the 2020-21 NBA season will begin on Dec. 22 and continue through May. The official 72-game schedule will be announced later.
Salt Lake County, where the team plays its home games, is Utah's most populated and has carried the heaviest burden of infection and deaths from COVID-19 in the state. It also has key hospitals that are beyond capacity because of the 545 coronavirus patients requiring hospital care, on top of those needing other kinds of care.
The state is under a mask order when six feet of physical distancing isn't possible from others. Health and government leaders have pleaded with Utah residents to wear masks and practice all safe precautions to keep others safe.
The University of Utah has cancelled basketball and football games this season because of the pandemic.
Guidelines from the press release are below:
The Jazz and Vivint Arena have partnered with Alsco to deliver essential products to safeguard public health, including hand sanitizer dispensers, masks, gloves and hospitalgrade cleaning solutions.
For the reintroduction of fans, Vivint Arena, the 18,306-seat home of the Jazz in downtown Salt Lake City, will implement several safety measures and protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including mandatory face coverings, mobile entry and screening procedures at all entrances, plexiglass barriers at point of sale locations, and social distancing signage.
The arena has earned its Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) certification, an NBA requirement for return to play, for its cleaning, disinfection and infectious disease prevention protocols. The arena has also signed the “Stay Safe to Stay Open” pledge, a partnership between the Salt Lake Chamber and the Utah Department of Health.
The reopening health and safety measures also include:
- Reduced seating capacity for all arena events and six-foot physical distancing in seating pods between groups of guests
- Common spaces such as elevators, retail stores and restrooms subject to reduced capacity, and tables in restaurants to be set six feet apart to best serve physicaldistancing protocols
- Face masks always required for guests and staff (age 2+) in the bowl and concourse areas, unless actively eating or drinking
- Full contactless mobile ticketing only with self-service digital scanning for guests at all arena entrances to reduce points of contact with staff
- No bags, purses or clutches allowed to expedite entry and reduce screening touchpoints. Only exceptions are diaper and medical bags that will be X-rayed and cannot be larger than 14x14x6 inches.
- Cash-free environment accepting credit, debit and prepaid cards and mobilepayments at all food and beverage and Jazz Team Store points of purchase for a contactless experience. Cash-to-card kiosks located on main and upper concourses.
- New mobile food and beverage ordering system, via the Jazz App, for ordering and paying by mobile phone and offering express pickup locations to maximize physical distancing in concession lines
- Jazz Team Store offering in-seat delivery for merchandise shopping through the Jazz App
- Electrostatic sprayers used to evenly disperse disinfectants across surfaces quickly and evenly with specific staff concentration on high-touch areas
- Hand sanitizer stations located throughout the arena
- HVAC system has been upgraded for higher quality of filtered air to meet NBA standards during pandemic
- Public address announcements and digital signage placed throughout arena to help promote physical distancing
- Arena employees to undergo touchless temperature screening before entering the workplace. All staff to wear face coverings for the duration of every event, routinely wash their hands with soap and water, and physical distance.
A comprehensive arena reopening guide will be shared on the Utah Jazz and Vivint Arena websites to outline all public health and safety measures.