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Orlando looks to have 4,000 people at home games to start season

Even though John Wall looked impressive in his preseason debut with the Rockets, James Harden reportedly still wants out of Houston. Michael Holley and Michael Smith examine the situation.

ORLANDO, Fla. — The Orlando Magic said Monday that they plan to have 4,000 fans in seats for regular season games, with strict adherence to social distancing and other health protocols.

The team will build up to that 4,000 figure, with no fans other than family members of the Magic organization permitted for the preseason and then smaller crowds for the first five regular season home contests.

“The health and safety of everyone connected to our game will be top priority,” Magic CEO Alex Martins said. “Our goal is to make everyone feel comfortable that extensive safety precautions have been taken for the return to Amway Center.”

For now, the 4,000 attendance maximum is the largest known figure in the NBA to start the season — which opens Dec. 22. Many teams have said they will start the season with no fans; others are capping at figures like 300 in Cleveland and 1,500 in Utah.

Face coverings will be mandatory inside Orlando’s Amway Center, fans will have to complete a pre-arrival symptom and exposure survey, and those in proximity to the court will have to undergo testing. The Magic are also not allowing bags into the building, except in very specific circumstances.

The team said “deep and constant cleaning” will occur in high-traffic areas as well. Hand sanitizer stations have been added throughout the arena, air filters have been upgraded and ultraviolet lighting has been added to some areas like escalators to attack bacteria.

The Magic will also be transitioning to a cashless environment inside the arena, to further limit the potential of exposure and contamination.