ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Bob Belber, General Manager of the Times Union Center, and Tom Menas from the Albany Empire joined talked guidelines for the arena football home opener on Friday. They’re offering free tickets for future games to people who get vaccinated.
They were on-hand with Albany County Executive Dan McCoy to discuss the upcoming National Arena League football season and what to expect when fans return to the arena this year.
“The Empire’s first home game on May 29 will be accompanied by a vaccination POD, and we’ll be offering free tickets to future games starting June 12 for anyone who gets a shot that day. We’ll also have a Vax Block Party in the Atrium that day for anyone who has already been vaccinated, with food and live entertainment,” McCoy said. “When fans return to the TU Center for the game, vaccinated individuals won’t have to wear masks or socially distance.”
The Johnson and Johnson vaccine will be offered for the May 29 vaccination clinic at the Times Union Center. The Vax Block Party, similar to future games and concerts there, will require proof of vaccination status. They’ll accept either the Excelsior Pass, a physical CDC vaccine card, or a photo of the card with photo identification.
Still, McCoy says that there are some issues with the Excelsior Pass that New York should address immediately. “In order to properly utilize the Excelsior Pass to determine who has been vaccinated,” he said, “we need the State to make dramatic improvements to the app and the entire New York State Immunization Information System that has been plagued with glitches and shortcomings,” he said.
“It isn’t fair to force the arena and our local businesses, who have suffered over the last 14 months, to use this flawed app to ensure their staff and customers are safe,” he continued.
Limited to 33% capacity, the Times Union Center can hold under 4,000 people until state guidance changes. Organizers will separate sections and bathrooms based on vaccination status, and fans must wear masks and social distance in unvaccinated sections. Children under 12 who are not vaccinated will be able to sit with parents in the vaccinated sections.