MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers will open their home arena, the BB&T Center in Sunrise, to fans to start the new NHL season, but with limited capacity.
The Panthers have spent months working on making the arena safe for fans to attend games.
The Panthers will allow 25% capacity which amounts to about 5,000 fans a game.
“The Panthers intend to open the season with a limited capacity of up to 25%, however given the unpredictability of the pandemic will remain flexible and in compliance with the NHL, and local and national governmental and health authorities so as to ensure the safety of fans, players, game-related personnel, and the local community,” the Panthers said in a release.
The BB&T Center will use the strictest guidelines to combat COVID-19 including requiring face masks, social distancing exit and entry process, and adding using contactless mobile food ordering. They are also requiring health screenings, installed acrylic screens throughout the arena, and updated contactless bathrooms.
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For now, the team continues training camp as it prepares to host the Dallas Stars on Thursday, Jan. 14 to start the season.
As many as 9 new players could be in the lineup for the opener. The Panthers will play a 56 game season, less than the usual 82 games. The cats have had a number of players who have not practiced yet because they have been classified as unfit to play including goalie Sergei Bobrovsky and new forward Patrick Hornquist.