Basketball fans will soon be allowed back inside the Miami Heat’s home arena—but only after they’ve been deemed virus-free by COVID-sniffing dogs!
The Miami Heat will be the first NBA team to employ COVID-sniffing dogs to safely allow spectators back into the stands for their upcoming January 28 home game at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Matthew Jafarian, the Heat’s executive vice president of business strategy, told The Washington Post, “We don’t want to just sit around and hope that sports return to normal. We realized that we’ve got to be innovative, and we’ve got to have strong execution if we want to provide a safe environment.”
On January 28, about 1,500 season ticket holders will be allowed into the arena for the first time this season, but only after getting a quick sniff from one of the Heat’s highly trained, highly effective, COVID-sniffing dogs.
In addition to the canine screenings and enhanced cleaning protocols, fans will be required to wear masks at all times, maintain physical distancing, and leave bags and purses at home. Food and alcoholic beverages will not be served, and water and sodas must be consumed outside the arena bowl and concourses.
The dogs need less than 10-seconds to sniff a person for a COVID-19 infection, allowing them to scan about 360 people per hour, per dog. For the upcoming game, the team has employed 4 dogs. They plan to hire more dogs for future games and as attendance increases. If the COVID-sniffing dogs prove effective in Miami, additional NBA teams are expected to follow suit.