SF officials deny Warriors’ plan to reopen Chase Center


San Francisco health officials have rejected the Golden State Warriors’ plan to reopen Chase Center at 50% capacity when the NBA season starts in December.

The team had hoped to use rapid PCR tests to pre-screen fans before allowing them to enter, but the city’s health officer Dr. Tomas Aragon deemed it too risky.

Case numbers have spiked in recent weeks and San Francisco went from the state’s lowest risk tier to its second highest, slowing reopening efforts.

UCSF epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford worked with the Warriors on the plan and says the city seems open to the idea of 25% capacity when the time is right.

“The science is dependent on having a relatively low rate on the outside; that actually adds an extra additional layer of protection. With the surging rates on the outside, it was Dr. Aragon’s judgement – and I don’t disagree with it – that this wasn’t the right time,” he said. “They haven’t said no forever and ever, they’ve said no for right now. At least that’s my understanding. So I think we may be able to come back as we turn the corner on the curve."

The plan also included at-home testing for season ticket holders who could present their negative results at the door with their tickets.

"They’d have the answer back before they left their house. And so for a handful of people who would show up at the gate, who were given tickets or who got them through StubHub or something, they would have on site testing for that. But you don’t want to create those really long lines, you want to be able to bring the largest number of people in right away and not have them backed up outside," said Dr. Rutherford.

It is the kind of plan that seemed far-fetched when the team first started discussing it in June, but the technology has now caught up to the point where it is possible.

The city says it is open to potentially reopening Chase Center at 25% capacity when case numbers allow.