PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland Trail Blazers have been approved for 10% fan capacity at the Moda Center, just in time for Friday's big game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The team said it will put health and safety first as it welcomes fans back to the arena.
The news was first reported Tuesday night by Oregonian sports columnist John Canzano. The Trail Blazers confirmed the report Wednesday morning.
"We are thrilled to welcome limited fans to Moda Center and bring back the best home court advantage in the league," said Trail Blazers president and CEO Chris McGowan. "We are putting health and safety at the forefront of every game and have many new arena improvements and changes to the guest experience that will create a seamless and contactless experience."
The Blazers said ticket presales for the four remaining home games this season will start Thursday morning. Emails with ticket purchasing information will be sent to current season ticket holders and other priority clients. If any tickets are left over after the presale, they'll be made available to the public through trailblazers.com.
With 10% capacity, the Blazers will be able to have about 1,900 fans in the stands for the final four regular-season home games: Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers, Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs, Monday against the Houston Rockets and May 16 against the Denver Nuggets.
Canzano reported that a source told him the capacity could increase to as much as 20% for home playoff games.
The Trail Blazers said the following health and safety protocols have been implemented at the Moda Center:
- All fans will be required to wear a mask while in the arena unless actively eating or drinking.
- Tickets will be sold in "pods", allowing for guests within the same household to sit together and remain physically distanced from other ticketed guests. Pods will be spaced at least six feet apart and limited at one to six people per pod.
- All Moda Center tickets will be mobile to ensure a contactless entry into the arena. Tickets can be accessed through the Trail Blazers app presented by Verizon.
- All fans will be required to complete a Mandatory Health Screening via the Trail Blazers mobile app. All ticketed fans must provide proof of a successful health screening before entering the arena.
- Fans will have designated arena entry locations based on seating location.
- Installed new MERV 14 hospital grade filters, portable HEPA units to enhance air cleaning and increase outside air ventilation as much as possible.
- The Rose Quarter will now be a cash-free campus, creating a frictionless & contactless customer experience.
- The Rose Quarter has implemented a no-bag policy to create a frictionless and contactless customer experience, with exceptions for medical needs, children’s bags and women’s clutches, which must be screened via an x-ray machine before entering the arena. More information on the new bag policy can be found at the website below.
- Food and beverage will be extremely limited, and all food will be packaged for safety.
- The Rose Quarter has earned the WELL Health-Safety Rating through the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). The WELL Health-Safety Rating is an evidence-based, third-party-verified rating for all new and existing building and space types focusing on operational policies, maintenance protocols, stakeholder engagement and emergency plans to address public health concerns now and help organizations be better prepared for future crises.
The last time fans were allowed in the Moda Center was nearly 14 months ago, on March 10, 2020 for a game against the Phoenix Suns. The NBA postponed the NBA season the next day on March 11.
Other sports teams in Oregon have had fans in attendance at matches and games in the past month at outdoor venues, including Providence Park for the Portland Timbers and Portland Thorns and Ron Tonkin Field for the Hillsboro Hops.
On Tuesday, Blazers star guard Damian Lillard expressed his frustration that the team was still playing its home games in an empty arena. "So we gone be the only damn team in the whole league with no fans," he tweeted.
Lillard's teammates joined in, with CJ McCollum tweeting, "Wonder why we got a better record on the road," in response to Lillard's tweet. Jusuf Nurkic responded to Lillard's tweet with a GIF of Gov. Brown.
The Blazers are 36-29 and in seventh place in the Western Conference. They trail the Lakers and Mavericks, tied for fifth place in the West, by one game. As McCollum pointed out, Portland has a better record on the road (20-13) this season than at home (16-16). Portland has seven games left in the regular season.
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