It has been 13 months since the Staples Center hall filled with spectators. While the Staples Center will again host on Thursday night for some 2,000 fans, it won’t open as many doors as it will break them.
What was once the busiest place in LA announced its procedures for getting busy again, starting with the Lakers playing the Celtics: Among the many procedures, the most pressing is for all spectators to be fully vaccinated according to CDC guidelines or provide evidence of a COVID-19 test negative within the previous 72 hours.
It will be a challenge for many fans, said Danielle Snyder, vice president of guest services and security at the Staples Center. But in the “short time” before stadiums can operate at full capacity, there will be a number of precautions to help protect fans and prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the largest indoor mass gathering in Los Angeles since the pandemic began.
“We have a loyal fan base of people who love to come see their home team, we feel like we’re part of the culture with all the events we have here, and that people are used to having certain experiences,” said Snyder. “But we know we need to have a safe experience for everyone to have fun in the game, and yes, we have to do all these things to make sure.”
For those who can attend home games for the Lakers, Clippers or Kings, the first thing they will notice is that the Staples Center borders have extended beyond its physical walls. Staff will meet participants at locations around the fence around the arena to check health verification and photo identities. The test will not be available onsite, so it must be done in advance. Tickets will only be accepted on mobile devices. Wallets or bags are not allowed in; wallet only.
Once inside the fenced area, guests will be asked to wear face covers for their nose and mouth during the game (except in the designated outdoor dining area). Neck protectors and bandanas will not be accepted; face shield can only be worn with a mask.
While Staples are technically allowed to fill up to 35 percent capacity, realistically with other guidelines set by state and county health officials – particularly those requiring social distancing between spectators – even 35 percent of the capacity of the Staples Center’s 19,000 seats is practically unfit. But there’s a good chance more fans will be welcomed as the season progresses, more people get vaccinated and health standards gradually soften.
“We waited with bated breath,” said Snyder, “just like everyone else.”
The hands-on experience will differ in several dramatic ways: No cash will be received at the Staples Center. While several concourse food options will be open, there will be no food or drink in the bowl arena; all diners must go out to eat. The group of fans sitting together must be from the same house. Hand sanitizer stations will be available all over the place, and hand washing is recommended.
There are also some unseen changes: The Staples Center is one of the first large indoor venues to receive the GBAC Star certification, a reflection of its updated air filtration system and thorough cleaning procedures that were implemented months before the doors opened again for sporting events.
“It’s something we’ve been working on for a long time, and then hastily the last few weeks when we received the guidelines,” said Snyder. “We still hope the fans will have the same experience in our matches.”
Frank Vogel pays tribute to former Laker ‘Slick’ Leonard
The longest basketball career weaves a complex network that touches all areas and generations of games. Bob “Slick” Leonard’s career was like that: He was an NCAA champion in Indiana in 1953; he played for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers; he is the Indiana Pacers’ most winning head coach of all time, guiding them to three ABA championships; he later carved out his name as an announcer, known by his trademark “Boom, Baby!”
For the Lakers coach, Frank Vogel, he is a friend who is most remembered.
After Leonard died on Tuesday morning at 88, Vogel – who finished second behind Leonard in the Pacers’ all-time coaching triumph – took the minutes before Tuesday’s game to remember Leonard, whom he cherished with “incredible friendship and support” over the years. -year. He said he consulted regularly with Leonard for his thoughts on his team, even since taking over as Lakers coach.
“Even with the Lakers team I saw him last year, I said, ‘What do you think of our team?'” Said Vogel. “And he will watch, he will always tell me, ‘I watch your game every night. I’m watching you. ‘ So that is something that I really appreciate in my life. ”
Leonard and his wife, Nancy Leonard, are friends of the Vogel family – they continued to get together socially after Vogel left Indiana in 2016 but returned to visit for the summer.
“I love hearing all that story back to the days of the Lakers, and the Indiana national championships, all of his coaching days when he was with the ABA Pacers,” said Vogel. “And I think what I miss the most is the way of storytelling him.”
Vogel uses “Boom, Baby!” pinned on Tuesday night against Charlotte, a game he said he would train with “a heavy heart.”
– Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) April 14, 2021
Frank Vogel needed time to discuss his relationship with Bobby “Slick” Leonard who passed away at 88 and injury updates for #LakeShow ahead of tonight’s match vs. the Hornets. @LakersRorter pic.twitter.com/d5ifYqtBAT
– Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) April 13, 2021