Times Union Center gearing up for first big event in more than a year

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ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — To reopen the Times Union Center, Arena Manager Bob Belber said they’ve sent a plan to the state that’s a model for the country.

“Worse case scenario, you don’t want someone to leave feeling like something wasn’t done right,” Belber said.

Thousands of fans will enter the arena this weekend during the NCAA Hockey regional tournament.

“Members of the New York State Department of Health indicated to me that they were very impressed with the plan itself. We’re happy to finally be open,” Belber said.

To get inside, everyone from staff to players and even guests must test negative for COVID.

“We’re going to be nice to people. We’re going to ask them to follow the rules. Obviously, if they don’t follow the rules there’s the three strike rule,” Belber said.

The arena’s going to look a lot different inside with social distancing, temperatures checks and mask enforcement.

“It’s going to take a little time for people to really understand what we’re expecting,” Belber said.

Belber said opening its doors this weekend is temporary. 10 percent capacity is not profitable, and until capacity is increased to at least 25 percent by the state, future events like arena football are in jeopardy.

“We can market this building and book concerts and family shows and motorsports with 3400 seats, with 25 percent of the capacity, we can officially open,” Belber said.

For now, the arena will close its doors after the tournament ends.

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