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In new survey from NBA, Nets fans asked what precautions, including team-paid COVID-19 tests, would make them feel comfortable about returning to arena

With the 72-game 2020-21 NBA season set to start before Christmas--reason: money and TV contracts--the question remains: will fans be allowed in arenas?

That should vary by state, with certain states--New York, likely--more strict. Nevertheless, the NBA has circulated a survey to fans regarding their posture toward coronavirus precautions and what might make them feel comfortable at arenas.

There's an inevitable tension in trying to "make health and safety the top priority when fans are able to return to the arena," because the Barclays Center, like many venues, packs people together--which has led to the recognition that the arena needs more ways to enter and exit.

As noted by NetsDaily, games would initially begin without fans, but the league hopes that suites--the most expensive seats--could have 25% to 50% capacity. 

Note that, rather than re-create an expensive, unwieldy "bubble," as done for the NBA playoffs, games would be played in teams' home arenas--except for the Toronto Raptors, who likely must find a USA location (Prudential Center in Newark?) to avoid quarantine issues. (Then again, that team sent out a survey to fans about playing at home, albeit with social distancing.)

The survey began with basic questions about what ticket types fans buy, and the location of the arena.

COVID concerns

Then there were questions about how people gather information related to COVID-19, including news outlets, and various levels of government. People wer asked their level of concern about getting the virus, or the virus affecting their jobs or relationships.

To assess level of caution, one question was "how safe do you feel getting together with the following number of people from outside your household?" The choices: 1, 2-5, 6-20, 21-50, 50+.

People were asked how frequently they've left home, and where they go, including restaurants for pick-up and eat-in. Respondents were asked whether they wear face coverings, whether or not required. 

An overall question asked when people planned to revisit businesses, restaurants/bars/gyms, and sporting events, once permitted. 

Returning to the arena

The survey asked about posture toward precautions at the arena. Options include: improved mobile ordering, sanitary improvements like hand sanitizer dispensers, face masks, staff in PPE, and knowledge of other fans testing negative prior to entering.

The questionaire asked if respondents were willing to be tested--organized/paid by the team--before going to a game, with options for deep swab/shallow swab/spit test.

Such tests could involve arriving at the arena one or two hours before a game, or going to the arena/practice facility or participating pharmacy two days before. 

The questionaire asked if the "lack of any food and beverage availability" at the arena--or seat--would deter people.

Bottom line: there are always risks, and variables, and there's a tradeoff between making the game experience difficult--arrive two hours early?--and making it safe. The tradeoff should become easier if/when governments get a better handle on the crisis.

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