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UPDATED: SAP Center to Open Doors to Sharks Fans on Apr. 26; Barracuda Home Games Remain Closed

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Credit: Sheng Peng

The San Jose Sharks will welcome fans back into SAP Center on Apr. 26 against the Arizona Coyotes.

This will be the first time that SAP Center will host Sharks fans in more than a year. The last time was Mar. 8, 2020 versus the Colorado Avalanche.

“On behalf of the entire Sharks organization, I am elated to welcome fans back to SAP Center at San Jose,” San Jose Sharks president Jonathan Becher said. “The health and safety of all event attendees continues to be our top priority. SAP Center recently achieved the Global Biorisk Advisory Council STAR Accreditation, the gold-standard designation awarded to select venues that have established procedures to prepare, respond, and recover from outbreaks and pandemics. We appreciate the patience of our fans over the past year and we’re thankful for your trust to provide you with a safe and enjoyable experience.”

On Mar. 12, the 2019-20 NHL season was paused because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, all San Jose Sharks home games – there have been 20 so far in the 2020-21 season – have been played at SAP Center without fans in attendance.

Currently on the road, the Sharks will return home on Apr. 24 against the Minnesota Wild. SAP Center will host a soft re-opening for families of players and staff members only.

Fans interested in attending the Apr. 26 game will be “required to provide proof of a negative COVID test OR proof of receiving a complete COVID-19 vaccination.”

The County of Santa Clara is currently in the Orange Tier of California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. In this tier, SAP Center can host up to 35% capacity “if all guests are tested or show proof of full vaccination.” That means, if the county is still in the Orange Tier on Apr. 26, that the Sharks can host about 6,000 fans.

When the county moves up to Yellow Tier, SAP Center will be able to accommodate 50% capacity, provided guests show proof of testing or complete vaccination.

However, the San Jose Sharks are starting small on Apr. 26. “We’re intentionally starting smaller than we could for now,” Becher said.

With the many restrictions still in place, the Sharks want to make sure they can handle a smaller number of fans before increasing crowds.

The San Jose Sharks have provided details here, including a variety of free and paid testing options, and when tickets will go on sale. Masks must be worn for entry and inside SAP Center, and tickets much be purchased in advance. Also, according to Becher, ticket prices will remain at standard rates and they’ll be open to season ticket holders with most tenure first. Becher also commented on the controversial no bag policy, acknowledging it’s a “difficult policy,” but that they’re simply following NHL and California guidelines in this respect.

“We hope to have a better answer next season,” Becher said.

San Jose Hockey Now has also learned that San Jose Barracuda games hosted at SAP Center will remain closed to fans. The AHL squad has six home games scheduled to be played at SAP Center and two home games at Solar4America Ice to conclude their season.

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