July 25, 2021

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Report: NBA expects full arenas for 2021-22 season

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As COVID-19 testing becomes more available and more vaccinations are being administered, the NBA expects...

As COVID-19 testing becomes more available and more vaccinations are being administered, the NBA expects to have arenas at full capacity next season, according to Baxter Holmes of ESPN.

A key aspect of that effort is the NBA’s multiyear leaguewide partnership with CLEAR, a biometric screening company known for its expedited security process at hundreds of airports worldwide.

CLEAR’s COVID-19 health screening technology will be available to all 30 teams, after one-third of the league’s teams have been using the company’s Health Pass Program.

The program allows fans to access a combination of health surveys and secure linking to COVID-19 lab results and vaccination records prior to entering an arena.

As it pertains to attendance, fans can download the Clear app and upload an identifying document along with a selfie. To link their COVID-19 test results, fans log into their testing account through the app, and results will be linked to their health pass.

Before entering the venue, fans can open the app, verify their identity with another selfie and then answer health survey questions. (There are also expected to be an unspecified number of Clear kiosks where fans receive a temperature check and scan their QR code.) Fans are issued a red or green notification depending on their COVID-related health information.

Only the arenas receive information about whether a fan has passed the requirements for access and not any private health information from the individual, a CLEAR spokesperson noted.

All 30 NBA teams are not required to use the program, league sources told Holmes.

Currently, more than two-thirds of teams are allowing some capacity of fans to attend games, as the exact number of fans varies by state-by-state regulations during the pandemic.

Teams hosting fans must still comply with state and/or local regulations, as well as the league’s health and safety protocols.

Teams can also create fully vaccinated fan sections in which social distancing is subject only to state and/or local requirements, per ESPN.

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