CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Cleveland Cavaliers’ request for more fans at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse has been approved.
Ohio Department of Health Director Stephanie McCloud, who works for Governor Mike DeWine’s administration, informed the Cavaliers in a letter Tuesday afternoon that they will be granted a variance, allowing 1,944 spectators total, which is 10% of the arena’s capacity.
“I am approving this variance because of the Cavaliers’ extremely comprehensive and detailed activation plan, and particularly given the FieldHouse’s creation of increased space on the south side, increased concourse ceiling height (by three feet) and state-of-the-art HVAC system to address air quality,” McCloud wrote.
On Nov. 4, the Cavs submitted an innovative 86-page coronavirus plan, along with an official variance request, letter of support from Mayor Frank Jackson and approval from the Cleveland Department of Public Health. Their original ask was for an allowance of 4,596 people — 23.65% of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse’s typical 19,432-person maximum.
In the approval letter, the Cavs were informed that the number of spectators seated in a group cannot exceed six individuals from the same family or party in seating throughout the venue and all groups must have at least six feet of social distancing between them in all directions.
Under an order given by Gov. Mike DeWine on Aug. 25, the current maximum allowance for indoor sports and entertainment venues, regardless of size, stature or safety features is 300, or 15% of fixed, seated capacity — whichever is less.
To get that lifted, a variance request needs to be submitted and approved.
The Cavs spent months working with the Cleveland Clinic, the City of Cleveland, State of Ohio, N(BA), as well as several other partners to devise the plan that prioritizes health and safety, maintains proper social distancing and, they believe, sets Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse apart. The proposal featured increased cleanliness, extensive space and technological elements lacking at most other sports and entertainment venues, with CEO Len Komoroski arguing against being held to the same strict rules of other lesser-equipped places.
The Cavs also pointed out the arena’s deep economic impact — the largest driver of economic activity in Cuyahoga County that resulted in $164 million in direct spending last year, a number outlined in the lengthy activation plan.
“We have confidence that the FieldHouse is one of the safest places to be in the state of Ohio,” Komoroski said Monday evening. “Our variance request reflects a deep, continuing commitment to operate responsibly and protect the health and safety of everyone at the games or events. We’re also hopeful to get our part-time event staff back to work too, as these jobs make an impact in our community as well.”
Nearly two months after their submission, the Cavs received the approval they wanted.
New Cavs face masks for sale: Here’s where you can buy Cleveland Cavaliers-themed face coverings for coronavirus protection, including a single mask ($14.99) and a 3-pack ($24.99). All N(BA) proceeds donated to charity.’
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