Here’s when Lakers, Clippers, Kings fans will be allowed to return to Staples Center
One of basketball’s most storied rivalries, two teams who fueled the NBA’s growth over a decade, will be on the court in front of fans at Staples Center on April 15, the first time professional basketball has had spectators in Los Angeles in more than a year.
“We are incredibly excited that the State of California announced guidelines today that will allow Lakers fans to return to Staples Center,” the Lakers said in a statement. “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.”
State guidelines released Friday allowed for indoor venues to begin returning fans to arenas under the following rules:
Testing or proof of vaccination would be required and capacity limited to 20% in the red tier. The threshold would be 10%, or 2,000 people, in the orange tier — and could increase further to 35% if all attendees are tested or show proof of full vaccination. The cap is also set at 10%, or 2,000 people, in the yellow tier, though capacity in those cases could increase to 50% if all guests are tested or fully vaccinated.
Staples Center and its teams said they will work with the state and county to finalize procedures to ensure fan safety.
“That’s going to be super exciting for our whole community,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. “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.”
The Lakers haven’t unfurled their 2020 NBA championship banner, vowing to do so only when fans are back in the building.
Indoor live events and performances can resume in California this month with limitations amid declining COVID-19 rates and continuing vaccinations.
Both the Clippers and the Kings are making similar plans for fans.
The Clippers are planning on having some fans in the building on April 18 against 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,” the Clippers said in a statement. “With the new guidelines in place, we are planning for a certain number of fans to attend our game against Minnesota on April 18.”
The Kings have targeted April 20 against the Ducks for their first game with fans.
“We are thrilled that the state of California has now released the guidance that will allow us to have fans return to Kings games at Staples Center starting on April 20 versus Anaheim,” the Kings said. “Now that we have this information, we will be able to work with our local health officials at LA County to provide information to our fans in the coming week as to how they will be able to attend our games. This is exciting for our players and our fans.”
The Ducks will host fans on April 16 against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center in Anaheim.
Staples Center has been without paid fans since the Lakers played the Brooklyn Nets on March 10, 2020. The following day, Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 before a game in Oklahoma City, essentially signaling the start of the pandemic in the country.
The Kings hosted Ottawa on March 11, their season getting shut down the following day.
NBA teams have been allowed to have limited personnel at games this season. For the past week, the Lakers have been allowing limited-admittance player guests.
As of Friday, 20 NBA teams were allowing fans to attend games, ranging in capacity from 750 to 5,542.
Staff writer Luke Money contributed to this report.
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