DENVER — Only 4,050 fans were allowed into Ball Arena to watch the first in-person basketball game in more than a year, but for those allowed inside, it was a glimmer of hope that the world is returning to normal.
"It feels amazing. It's a little taste of what we can expect in the future," one fan said. "Even with the limited capacity, I'm excited to hear what the hometown advantage is going to be like."
For now, fans are required to wear face masks at all times, sit in pods separated by at least six feet of space and leave any purses and bags at home.
The capacity limits were set as part of a variance granted by the state of Colorado earlier in March after COVID-19 rates declined to manageable levels. Though the rules make for an unusual experience inside the arena, fans said they are excited to cheer on their team.
"This is kind of a leap forward. Like, I'm excited. This is very exciting," another fan said.
The 4,050 tickets were made available to frontline and health care workers who have battled COVID-19 in their jobs for more than a year.
"I worked at a skilled nursing facility rehabbing people at post-COVID just to get back to normalcy," a fan said. "We went to work every day. We did what we needed to do, and I think this is just one example of saying thank you"