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BREAKING: Santa Clara County Will Follow State Guidelines for Re-Opening SAP Center to Fans



Credit: Sheng Peng

There’s another hurdle — maybe two — down if the San Jose Sharks want to host fans at SAP Center this season.

This afternoon, the California Department of Public Health announced guidelines that would allow California professional sports teams to open up indoor venues to a limited number of fans starting Apr. 15. This means, per the state of California, that the Sharks would be allowed to open up SAP Center to fans for the first time since March 2020.

The state, however, left final discretion on the re-opening of indoor stadiums to local jurisdictions. For the Sharks, that means the County of Santa Clara would get to decide.

“The county is following the state’s guidelines,” a Santa Clara County Public Information Officer told San Jose Hockey Now.

That would appear to remove a significant potential hurdle keeping the San Jose Sharks from hosting fans on Apr. 23, their first game at SAP Center after Apr. 15. It was the county, of course, that forced both the Sharks and the San Francisco 49ers to re-locate to Arizona temporarily at the height of the pandemic.

“We will need to review the recently released State guidance for indoor venues, and will be communicating any potential SAP Center reopening plans with fans once finalized,” a San Jose Sharks spokesperson told SJHN.

Santa Clara County is currently in the Orange tier of California’s re-opening plan. Per Deadline, for larger sports or concerts venues with 1,500-plus capacity: “In the Orange tier, capacity is limited to 10% or 2,000 people, and capacity increases to 35% if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination.”

Also, advance ticket sales are mandatory and only in-state guests will be permitted inside. No eating or drinking will be allowed in seats, and masks must stay on at all times.

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