When was the last time you went to a basketball game or a live concert?
If you live in Los Angeles, it has been a while.
Thankfully, that can change very soon.
What is happening
The year-long ban on most indoor seating is ending. Starting April 15th, NBA games and other forms of live entertainment will be allowed to have fans again.
This change comes as the state is making real progress in vaccine distribution. The state has administered nearly 19 million doses of the vaccine. That leaves around 6.9 million people fully vaccinated.
With the eligibility increasing on April 15th, that number will only rise.
It is important to note that these rules only apply to specific events. Private indoor gatherings will be more restrictive.
Private gatherings include weddings, meetings, or conferences. Those types of gatherings require a negative test at least 72 hours in advance or proof of vaccination.
Dee Dee Myers is the director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. She offered some insight into the state's thinking.
“Allowing some of these activities and opportunities to vaccinated individuals is an incentive. If they can return to some of their favorite activities because they’re vaccinated, then hopefully a few more people will go and get vaccinated.” -Dee Dee Myers
Will tests and vaccines be required?
Concerts and basketball games won’t be required to require testing or proof of vaccination. Each team or company can require them, but the state is not mandating it.
Events that do require testing and vaccinations will be allowed a higher capacity, though.
Also, only California residents can attend live events at this time.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have not had a chance to unfurl their championship banner yet. They have been waiting for fans to be allowed to do so. Thankfully, that wait might be ending soon.
In a lucky twist of fate, the Lakers have the perfect opponent to allow fans back into Staples Center. The Boston Celtics are coming into town on April 15th.
Lakers coach Frank Vogel is very excited to have fans back in the building.
“That’s going to be super exciting for our whole community. I know our guys, our coaches, our organization internally will be really excited about it. I think the players on the floor will notice the energy that our fans bring. Obviously we don’t know exactly how many fans will be there yet but just having some in there will bring us great energy and I’m just happy for the L.A. community. It’s one of everybody’s favorite things to do is go to Lakers games and they haven’t been able to do that during this pandemic. So just really excited about this news.” -Frank Vogel
“We are incredibly excited that the State of California announced guidelines today that will allow Lakers fans to return to Staples Center.”
“Now that we have the guidance, we will work with LA County Public Health and Staples Center to finalize our plans to have fans safely attend our games starting with the Lakers vs. Celtics game on April 15.”
“We look forward to welcoming Lakers fans back to Staples Center to continue the journey with us to defend our NBA title.”
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers don’t have any championship banners to unfurl. (a cheap shot, I know) But they are still happy to have their fans back.
The Clippers are planning on having some fans inside Staples Center on April 18th when they play the Timberwolves.
“With the State of California announcing that Los Angeles County has moved into the orange tier, we will continue working closely with the L.A. County Department of Public Health and Staples Center to determine the guidelines for safely hosting fans at Clippers home games this season.”
“With the new guidelines in place, we are planning for a certain number of fans to attend our game against Minnesota on April 18.” -Clippers official statement
How will it be different?
It’s hard to say what measures will be in place for fans at this time. The news is still fresh, and most companies/teams are still figuring it out.
You can safely bet that masks and social distancing will be involved. The venues will also be emptier than normal. But, other than that, it is hard to say exactly what a live event will look like.
Regardless of the specifics, this is still great news. Los Angeles without live sports or concerts has been weird. This is a welcome step towards a return to normal.