Madison Square Garden is widely recognized for being one of the world’s most famous arenas, but what does this arena experience look like during the COVID-19 Pandemic? On Tuesday February 23rd, 2021, Madison Square Garden welcomed back fans for the first time amid the pandemic. Per New York guidelines, about 2,000 fans could begin attending their favorite teams home games.
The process of going to a game isn’t all that simple. Any fan wishing to attend a game must present proof of a negative PCR test for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of game-day. However, this might be easier said than done. This process requires people to find and schedule an appointment to get tested, while also ensuring their results come back in time for the game. For games that take place on a Monday, means people would have to get tested on a Friday and hope their results come through over the weekend, in time for the game. Some places don’t process results over the weekend, so this could become problematic and prevent people from being able to attend the game they paid for. MSG does however provide other alternatives, if you are willing to spend $250 you could arrive early and get a rapid test done at a first come first serve testing site affiliated with the stadium. It is an extreme measure but may be a necessary one for people who did not receive their results back and still want to attend the game.
When you arrive at the stadium you must show proof of your negative PCR result with identification, along with a completed health screening form before being allowed to enter. A temperature check is also done as you make your way through security. Masks are to be worn at all times, even when sitting in your seats which are socially distanced throughout the stadium. The staff is also very strict about making sure people have their masks covering their face properly. They even hold up signs that read “please put on your face covering”.
While the experience may not be the same, being able to watch live sports in person is something a lot of people have looked forward to. As things slowly start to resume to normal, Madison Square Garden is doing everything they can to give their fans the best experience possible despite the circumstances.