The Miami Heat may be giving North American sports fans glimpses into their futures.
Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), the Heat intend to open two sections in their lower bowl only for fans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning with their April 1 game against the Golden State Warriors. The Heat are the first NBA franchise to announce such a move, but the AP added other clubs are working to follow in Miami’s footsteps.
Per Heat rules, vaccinated fans must still wear masks inside the arena. Social distancing requirements will be more relaxed in those sections, though, and concession and restroom areas could be reserved specifically for such patrons. Fans must be fully vaccinated for at least 14 days to be eligible for one of the two sections, and children are not permitted into the sections because they’re currently not eligible to receive any coronavirus vaccine available in the United States.
Fans will be required to show their Centers for Disease Control vaccination cards and valid identifications to enter the sections.
Earlier this month, PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan told reporters he was not considering opening tournaments only to paying customers who had received COVID-19 vaccines. However, the NFL announced on Monday that an “Inner Circle” portion of the Draft Theatre used for the upcoming draft held in downtown Cleveland, Ohio from April 29 through May 1 would be opened only to those fully vaccinated.
Before Super Bowl LV, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell refused to say if fans would have to show they’re vaccinated to attend future events such as the draft and summer preseason games. Some observers believe that suggested Goodell may be open to embracing the idea of so-called “vaccine passports” later this year.