MIAMI (AP) – The Miami Heat will once again have fans thanks to the help of dogs.
The NBA team will use dogs that detect the coronavirus to scan fans at the AmericanAirlines Arena who wish to attend the games.
This is a plan the Heat has been working on for months. Trained dogs have been installed by other teams in some duels this season to allow access by guests – usually friends and family of the players and staff.
Starting this week they will allow a limited number of people to enter the stands if they are able to pass the filter of the dogs.
“If you think about it, bloodhounds are nothing new,” said Heat executive vice president of business strategy Matthew Jafarian. “You see them at airports, they are used in critical political and military missions. We have used them for years in the sands to detect explosives. “
The Heat’s first meeting with fans will be Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers. From Monday, people who have season tickets will be able to secure their place.
The Heat have completely sold 451 straight games, the sixth longest streak in NBA history. Of course this year there will not be sold out. The Heat will keep capacity below 2,000 for the time being, equivalent to less than 10% of the normal capacity of the arena.
“Please take into consideration that there will be limited capacity as we will maintain social distancing,” the team recalled in a letter sent to their subscribers.
Dogs that detect the coronavirus have been used in recent months in places like Dubai’s airport in the United Arab Emirates and Helsinki, Finland.
Other protocols that the Heat will follow include: all attendees will be given a mandatory health questionnaire, they will have to wear masks continuously and only soft drinks and water will be sold. All transactions will be cashless and if an attendee feels unwell during the meeting they will have isolation rooms.
This change comes at a time when other arenas in Florida – such as the Amalie Arena in Tampa, home of the NHL’s Lightning and the NBA’s temporary home of the Toronto Raptors – are not allowing fans to enter despite that they did at the start of the season.