March 11, 2020, seems like a long time ago. That is the day the NBA world stood still and it's also the last time fans were allowed into Golden 1 Center.
After more than 13 months, the Kings announced Monday morning that they are reopening their doors, at least on a limited basis.
Starting April 20, the Kings will welcome 1,600 frontline workers when the team hosts the Minnesota Timberwolves. Tickets will be passed out in collaboration with local nonprofits and corporate partners.
“We are thrilled to safely welcome fans back to the arena, starting with frontline workers who have sacrificed tremendously throughout this pandemic,” Kings Chief Operating Officer Matina Kolokotronis said in a prepared statement. “We have worked closely with state and county public health officials and the NBA to implement comprehensive safety protocols and measures to enable fans to return to Golden 1 Center.”
Starting April 14 at 10 AM, the Kings plan to sell tickets for the following three games, with a plan for increasing the capacity of the arena slowly and within state and local guidelines. Season ticket holders will be given priority for purchasing seats.
Health and safety protocols will be stringent. To avoid any confusion, here is the list of guidelines from the team:
Testing, vaccines, and health screening: Prior to entry, fans will need to show proof of vaccination (showing receipt of both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine at least seven days prior to the event or the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at least 14 days prior to the event) or a negative COVID-19 PCR or Antigen test completed within 72 hours of the event. Fans will then take part in a verbal health screening with a Golden 1 Center Ambassador.
Masks and physical distancing requirements: Masks will be required for guests ages 2+ in seating areas and throughout the arena concourses when not actively eating in the designated eating section. Guests will see increased health and safety measures and signage to promote physical distancing throughout the arena, including at entry points and restrooms. All seating will be arranged in a physically distanced manner and the number of people allowed on elevators at one time will be limited.
Contactless entry and payment: Fans will enter Golden 1 Center via mobile ticketing and contactless entry. All food, beverage and retail kiosks will be cashless and contactless, like the arena’s Zippin check-out free convenience store added in September 2019.
Food and beverage: Individually packaged food and beverage will be available for purchase via mobile ordering for pick up at select Local Eats stands on the Plaza Level. Food and beverage may only be consumed in designated areas inside the arena and directly outside the Grand Entrance in the DOCO Plaza.
No bags policy: Bags larger than 8” x 6” x 1” will not be allowed. Medical and infant bags will be permitted.
Enhanced, continuous cleaning and sanitization: Hand sanitizing stations have been installed throughout the facility. Arena staff will increase the frequency of cleaning and sanitation in all areas being used, with an emphasis on commonly used surfaces such as seats, handrails and restrooms. The team has also implemented hospital-grade disinfection technology across high traffic guest, team and employee spaces.
Certifications: In preparation for welcoming fans back to the LEED Platinum arena, Golden 1 Center received both the GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation and WELL Health and Safety Rating. To achieve these gold-standard industry designations, Golden 1 Center demonstrated enhanced strategies in cleaning and sanitization procedures, strengthened air and water quality management, emergency preparedness programs, health service resources, and stakeholder engagement and communications materials.
While the Kings are currently struggling on the court, losing six straight games heading into Monday's game in New Orleans, there should be plenty of interest. The team currently sits three games behind the Golden State Warriors for the tenth spot in the Western Conference and a chance for the play-in tournament.
Once season ticket holders are given the first right of refusal, any remaining seats will be made available to the general public on Friday, April 16 at 10 AM on Kings.com.