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Phoenix Suns set to welcome up to 16K fans for playoff game -- is it safe?

Posted at 6:17 AM, Jun 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 09:17:38-04

Game five of the NBA Playoffs -- as the Phoenix Suns take on the Los Angeles Lakers -- is shaping up to be the largest gathering in the Valley in over a year.

The Suns are selling even more seats for the game, nearing full capacity in the arena.

Up to 11,000 fans were allowed inside for the last home game, but this time they're expanding access for 16,000 fans.

The Centers for Disease Control still advises avoiding big indoor gatherings but our ABC15 Health Insider says if you're vaccinated, you can do this safely without worry.

At previous games inside Suns Arena, they were able to keep empty seats between fans but Tuesday night will be more of a challenge.

Fans are asked to wear masks to get in the door and when not actively eating.

Health Insider Dr. Janice Johnston from Redirect Health says the key will be following the clean habits we've built over the last year.

She says to give each other some space when you're waiting in line and wash your hands frequently.

The Suns also added kiosks to exchange cash into debit cards to limit contact.

Dr. Johnston says we can take heart in looking around the country as super-spreader events seem to be a thing of the past.

"Look at other cities where they've opened for baseball and other big events and what's happened afterward, we just haven't seen that. I do think with half our community being vaccinated, and it's similar throughout the country, we're not seeing those bumps where people are gathered together so that's a good thing," she said.

With an event of this size, it's likely to serve as a blueprint for other big events in the Valley, like the return of concerts.