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If venues are "high-risk sites," Barclays Center won't open soon; NBA season's over, right?; does federal response complicate arena worker "relief"?

An op-ed in today's New York Times, These Coronavirus Exposures Might Be the Most Dangerous, argues that "high-dose exposures," related to proximity in enclosed spaces and elapsed time, are likely the riskiest.

Joshua D. Rabinowitz, a professor of chemistry and genomics, and Caroline R. Bartman, a genomic researcher, both at Princeton University, write:
A complete lockdown of society is the most effective way to stop spread of the virus, but it is costly both economically and psychologically. When society eventually reopens, risk-reduction measures like maintaining personal space and practicing proper hand-washing will be essential to reducing high-dose infections. High-risk sites for high-dose exposure, like stadiums and convention venues, should remain shuttered. Risky but essential services like public transportation should be allowed to operate — but people must follow safety measures such as wearing masks, maintaining physical spacing and never commuting with a fever.
(Emphasis added)

Such high-risk sites surely include theaters and other performance spaces, as well as arenas--enclosed, as opposed to open-air stadiums--like the Barclays Center.

In fact, I suspect that, in the near term venues like Barclays will find themselves at least partly refitted for the coronavirus response: staging areas for distribution of goods, field hospitals, etc.

I previously cited the suggestion by Richard Florida and Steven Pedigo that, to "pandemic-proof" venues, "Audience sizes may need to be reduced in theaters, with seats left open. Masks may need to be required and made available to patrons as needed, and temperature checks carried out."

If that were used as a transitional measure, at least until a vaccine and other progress, it would increase friction in operations, adding time and cost, even as fewer ticket-buyers lowered revenue. In other words, it would make business tougher, and could spur higher ticket prices, or surcharges.

When will the NBA re-start?

Despite chatter over re-starting the NBA season (including playing games without fans), former Brooklyn Nets executive Irina Pavlova, who served as president of Mikhail Prokhorov’s ONEXIM Sports and Entertainment and has a no-b.s. reputation, thinks it's done:
That's more realistic than what the NBA, for now, will admit. Also see Neil deMause, whose Field of Schemes post is headlined Sports leagues’ plans for resuming play, and why probably none of them make sense.

No Barclays Center April 2020 calendar (duh)

In case you were wondering, the Barclays Center (obviously) did not release the monthly calendar for April 2020 to community residents, because, well, the arena's not operating.

After the issuance of the March 2020 calendar, most events did not take place. That said, it's odd that the arena's web site has not fully adapted to the situation.

As shown in the screenshot at right, some events are marked as postponed or cancelled, but others are not clearly updated as such, though surely they won't be held.

$6M for arena workers--and then after May?

In mid-March, the Brooklyn Nets and the Barclays Center (operating company), both owned by Joe Tsai, announced they'd provide hourly employees "relief" through the end of May for the paychecks they would have earned if Brooklyn Nets regular season games and non-Nets events were to continue as originally scheduled.

The New York Post reported 3/30/20, "A source familiar with the unions and the overall process told The Post the checks cut could end up totaling an estimated $6 million." Such a blind quote can sound self-serving--why can't they just say so?--but the total is certainly plausible.

One question is what happens after May, because it's likely the arena will be closed much longer.

Given that there's now a federal backstop for unemployment insurance, plus an extra $600 a week through July, any employer continuing to pay employees might have a justification to suspend, or stop, such support.

Another question is whether such relief is the equivalent of employment or charity.

In fact, and I'm speculating here, it's possible that continued "employment" right now might in the near term disqualify part-time workers from unemployment insurance. (I posed this question on Twitter, and also queried a Barclays Center press person, so will update if I learn more.)

That would mean those whose part-time paychecks are less than the benefit from the CARES Act, including the extra $600/week, might want to refuse them.

This is a fluid situation, and Tsai's welcome gesture was made before the federal response was clear. So expect some more questions, and guidance.


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