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Heat using COVID canines as part of attendance protocols

Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro, Bam Adebayo, COVID-19, Heat

The Miami Heat are planning to host fans at AmericanAirlines Arena later this month, and they will use COVID-detecting dogs as part of the screening process.

Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel outlined some of the elements included in the team’s formal plan for the resumption of attendance, noting all attendees will be screened by a “canine team” before entering. Should one member of a given party be signaled by one of the dogs, the entire party is disqualified from entering the arena.

The Heat are offering an alternative to the canine screening at no cost to fans, though that process could take “up to 45 minutes.” Upon entering, fans are required to wear masks and sit in assigned pods. There will reportedly be isolation rooms for those guests who feel unwell.

It only makes sense for various franchises to rigorously screen fans, given the extent of the health issues throughout the league.

Postponements continue to loom large with teams being exposed to the coronavirus. Some players and team staffers have tested positive for COVID-19, while other roster complications stem from players undergoing contact tracing and entering the league’s health and safety protocols.

The NBA has attempted to minimize contact between teams while encouraging players and coaches alike to keep masks on when they are on the bench. It remains to be seen will have a positive impact in recent weeks.

Ideally, the league will have a better grasp on the situation by the end of January, when fans in Miami will have to undergo a canine screening process.