The New York Islanders will begin allowing fans back in the building on March 18, the team announced on Wednesday.
The Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers on March 18 and the statement from the team emphasized the return of season ticket holders on that date. State regulations currently limit capacity at venues in New York to 10 percent capacity and the Islanders said they would be following all required safety protocols.
A FAQ page set up by the Islanders says that roughly 1,300 fans will be allowed to attend games under the current state guidelines, which were announced on Feb. 10.
The team will welcome 1,000 frontline workers from Northwell Health on March 11 as a thank you for their “heroic efforts this past year.” The Islanders host the New Jersey Devils that night at Nassau Coliseum
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) February 24, 2021
Season ticket holders are being given priority for all homes this season, the team said. The FAQ page indicated that season ticket holders and suite holders would be given priority access to purchase tickets in order of tenure, followed by the general public.
As of now, the Islanders have only made seven-game available to purchase tickets to, which includes the March 18 date. March 20 vs. Philadelphia Flyers, April 1st vs. Washington Capitals, April 3rd vs. Philadelphia Flyers, Tuesday, April 6 vs. Washington Capitals, April 8 vs. Philadelphia Flyers and April 9 vs. New York Rangers will have tickets sold as well, according to the team site.
Fans will need to provide a negative PCR test that was administered within 72 hours of the game. The Islanders have partnered with Northwell Health GoHealth Urgent Care to create a “dedicated process for fans to ensure that you have your test results in hand on game day,” the FAQ page said.
If a fan tests negative or fails a temperature check on game day, they will be given a refund. Fans will also receive refunds for any canceled games and a refund option will be available if a game has to be rescheduled.
Fans are being asked to stay at home if they are feeling symptomatic or not feeling well, in which case they will be offered a refund as well, according to the Islanders website.
The announcement about the Coliseum reopening to fans was welcomed news to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. She has been a vocal supporter of the Islanders and lobbied the NHL to allow them to play all of their home games on Long Island in their final year before UBS Arena opens.
“We know that it’s starting at just 10 percent capacity, but we’re hoping that number continues to go up and up and up until we’re at full capacity,” Curran said in a video posted on Twitter. “In the meantime, I’m looking forward to seeing you there. Let’s rock the barn.”
Hey #Isles Nation:
See you at the Barn! pic.twitter.com/HP5zC6D7Nw
— Laura Curran (@NassauExecutive) February 24, 2021
Prior to the start of the season, there was a question of if fans would even be allowed into the Nassau Coliseum for games. During a ceremony honoring frontline workers at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky wasn’t sure when that date would be.
“That time will eventually arrive, but we are going to listen to the health authorities and the experts at each and every step,” Ledecky said during the December event.
The Islanders had been one of the only metropolitan teams currently playing that had not announced when their fans would be back at their arena following Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s announcement earlier this month that venues could reopen. The Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden both welcomed fans back on Tuesday, which was the first day when they could reopen with 10 percent capacity, COVID testing and strict social distancing rules in place.
The New York Rangers will have fans back in the building on Friday when they host the Boston Bruins.