The Miami Heat are bringing back some fans, with help from some dogs.
The Heat will use coronavirus-sniffing dogs at AmericanAirlines Arena to screen fans who want to attend their games. They’ve been working on the plan for months, and the highly trained dogs have been in place for some games this season where the team has allowed a handful of guests — mostly friends and family of players and staff.
Starting this week, a limited number of ticket holders will be in the seats as well, provided they get past the dogs first.
The first Heat game with ticket holders is set for Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers. Monday is the first day that season ticket holders will be able to start securing their seats.
The coronavirus-sniffing dog idea has been put into place at airports in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and Helsinki, Finland, in recent months. At Heat games, fans arriving for the game will be brought to a screening area and the detection dogs will walk past. If the dog keeps going, the fan is cleared, but if the dog sits, that’s a sign it’s detected the virus and the fan will be denied entry.
Other protocols the Heat will use include a health screening questionnaire that will be mandatory for all guests, masks must be worn continually and only soda and water will be sold. All transactions will be cashless and if a fan feels ill during a game, isolation rooms will be available.
And if a fan is allergic to or afraid of dogs, the Heat are offering an option to skip the dog screening and submit to a rapid antigen test instead. The Heat say those tests can be processed in less than 45 minutes.
A German study last year found that dogs there were right 94% of the time when it came to coronavirus detection.
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