Chase Center and the Golden State Warriors are preparing to welcome fans back with new, high-tech COVID-19 protocols in place. (Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Chase Center and the Golden State Warriors are preparing to welcome fans back with new, high-tech COVID-19 protocols in place. (Chris Victorio/Special to S.F. Examiner)

Golden State Warriors ready to welcome fans back to Chase Center

COVID-19 tests, app-based food ordering among new safety protocols announced this week

The Chase Center is set to bring Golden State Warrior fans back to the arena in limited numbers beginning April 23.

With COVID safety protocols that have been a year in making, officials say they’re ready to give fans a new experience on game day.

Warriors Team President Rick Welts said he couldn’t be more excited to bring fans back to see the game in person, especially after watching Steph Curry became the Golden State Warriors’ all-time leading scorer Monday night.

“Looking around me and seeing a handful of people who actually got to witness that in person, I can’t wait to get people back in the building. Moments like that, shared in person, become lifetime memories,” Welts said.

Warriors president Rick Welts on Tuesday said “I can’t wait to get people back in the building.” (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

Warriors president Rick Welts on Tuesday said “I can’t wait to get people back in the building.” (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

Per state guidelines, the Chase Center and other venues with a capacity greater than 1,501 can host games at 35% capacity with fans who have either tested negative or are fully vaccinated. The arena can host around 6,000 viewers per game at this time.

To make testing easier and more accessible than ever, the arena is introducing a mass-COVID-19 testing plan, called Operation Dub Nation: fans who aren’t fully vaccinated will either be sent an at-home test to take up to 48 hours in advance or take a rapid test the day of the game, for free.

The at-home test kit, produced by Lucira Health, will be sent to fans who purchased tickets more than a week in advance of game day. The fans will see their test results in 30 minutes, and afterwards they can link their result to CLEAR’s Health Pass app, which they’ll need to show upon entry to the game.

“I’ll say that it looks easy, but there’s an extraordinary amount of science that went into the development of this little test,” said Kelly Lewis Brezoczky, executive vice president of Lucira Health. “We have a remarkably talented team that’s been working for over seven years to develop this technology platform.”

Golden State Warriors fans who buy tickets more than a week in advance for the April 23rd game agains the Denver Nuggets will be mailed a home COVID-19 self-test kit by Lucira from Emeryville prior to arriving at Chase Center. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

Golden State Warriors fans who buy tickets more than a week in advance for the April 23rd game agains the Denver Nuggets will be mailed a home COVID-19 self-test kit by Lucira from Emeryville prior to arriving at Chase Center. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

Fully-vaccinated fans will only need to show proof of their vaccination to enter the Chase Center. They’ll also have the option to sit in a vaccinated section of the arena, up to four in a pod at a time.

Dr. Robert Nied, sports medicine physician for Kaiser Permanente and the Golden State Warriors, says testing will be a “linchpin” to keeping fans safe. The team’s frequent routine of testing this year is why they’ve had zero transmission within the team or among staff so far, he said.

“Our testing program has evolved over the last year, depending on what the situation is, especially with the players coming in, and the frequency and cadence of testing. The acceptability of different types of tests, saliva versus nasopharynx, obviously, are very different,” Nied said. “Through that process, we’ve been able to determine not just what the test characteristics are that we hear from a company, but really the real world.”

Once game day rolls around, fans can download the Warriors + Chase Center app to access their ticket online and order food and merchandise.

Hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout Chase Center. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

Hand sanitizer stations have been placed throughout Chase Center. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

Chase Center hopes to make the app, built with the help of Accenture, Adobe, Google Cloud, Uber and other Silicon tech giants, a cornerstone of the fan experience. Extra features include real-time stats of the game, a venue map with location-based tracking and live public transportation times to get to and from the game.

“Last year, we spent a lot of time learning, obviously, what others have done during this pandemic. One area that we’ve learned a lot from is the evolution of mobile technology, and how much we’ve used it really more in the last year than probably ever before,” said Daniel Brusilovsky, director of consumer product and technology for the Warriors.

One main change in the fan experience is concessions. Fans can choose to eat and drink in designated areas on the concourses or outside in the esplanade area during a game, but they’re prohibited from eating or drinking in the seating area. Online ordering is largely encouraged for contactless payment and fewer lines of people.

Cleaning crews working at Chase Center. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

Cleaning crews working at Chase Center. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

“So we’ve all had UberEats, or Postmates, or any of these delivery apps over the last year,” Brusilovsky said. “We really rethought having a better experience when it comes to mobile ordering, so we now have an expanded mobile ordering capability here.”

As for sanitation, Kim Stone, Chase Center general manager, said The Clorox Company is providing wipes, sanitation supplies, a “clean team” and electrostatic sprayers to clean the arena quickly.

“We immediately knew when we went into COVID, that we needed to really improve and improve our cleaning, but then disinfecting, as if we needed to take it to the next level,” Stone said.

Chase Center is preparing for the return of fans to Warriors games. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

Chase Center is preparing for the return of fans to Warriors games. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

The Dub Hub, a virtual service that casts fan faces on the big screen from their homes, is going to stay to make the arena feel fuller for the remainder of the season, said John Beaven, senior vice president of Ticket Sales and Services. He says it’ll be an opportunity to mix physical fans in the building with fans at home.

“Overall, the goal for fans here, despite the distancing, is to just create a frictionless environment to ensure that their game-day experience is as smooth as possible, as safe as possible, as exciting as possible,” Beaven said. “And all of the protocols that we’re putting in place, we hope will be working behind the scenes so they can come enjoy Warriors basketball.”

owynkoop@sfexaminer.com

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Fans will need to use the CLEAR app to enter Chase Center. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

Fans will need to use the CLEAR app to enter Chase Center. (Photography by Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner).

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